Why would the inside of my mouth have areas of grey and black?

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Abraham Speiser
Dentist

Areas of gray and black in the soft tissues attached to bone (like the gums) and unattached tissues (like the cheeks) are normal pigmentation in people of color. If you are a person of color, you might want to ask your parents or siblings about that.

Whether you are a person of color or not, areas of gray and black in the soft tissues can also be due to amalgam tattoo (silver filling material under the surface of the tissue for which the clinical course is observation) or something more serious.

I limited my answer to the soft tissues of the inside of mouth. My advice is to see your dentist and ask.

The most likely source of the problem is a build-up of tartar that occurs from a lack of professional dental cleanings. Tartar around the teeth and gums can become stained and appear black and grey. I suggest a professional dental cleaning and an examination by your dentist.
Grey or black areas in your mouth could be caused by many things, such as precancerous or benign (non-cancerous) spots, a normal blood vessel, or something called an amalgam tattoo. An amalgam tattoo can appear when a tiny metal particle from a metal filling or dental crown becomes embedded in oral tissue in your mouth. Amalgam tattoos can occur anywhere in your mouth, including the inside of your cheeks, gums, lips, tongue or on the roof of your mouth. An x-ray may be able to confirm a metal particle in your mouth tissue. Your dentist will be able to measure the particle and watch it over time for any changes or issues that may develop.

You may discover a grey or black spot in your mouth, or your dentist or dental hygienist may see it during a routine cleaning or oral cancer check. Caring for your teeth and gums on a daily basis will help you notice any changes in your mouth, including grey or black areas. If you notice any new spots or colored areas in your mouth, be sure to discuss them with your dentist or doctor to determine whether you need further evaluation by a specialist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.