What causes pale gums?

What causes pale gums?Pale gums may indicate that a person has anemia, which is often the result of an iron deficiency. However, if the gums are white or painful, the cause may be more serious.

Healthy gums should be a relatively consistent shade of pink. They may appear slightly lighter around the teeth and darker around the sides of the mouth. One person's gums may be naturally a little paler or darker than another's.

When an individual notices that the color of their gums is changing, they should speak with a doctor, especially if additional symptoms are causing concern.

Read on to learn more about the causes of pale gums. We also describe accompanying symptoms, treatments, and when to see a doctor.

Causes and symptoms

Treatment and the number of symptoms will vary, depending on the cause of pale gums.

Below is a list of underlying conditions, their other symptoms, and their treatments:


Anemia occurs when the body is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. A lack of blood can cause some tissues to grow pale.

In addition to pale gums, a person with anemia may notice the following symptoms:

  • inexplicable exhaustion or weakness
  • shortness of breath
  • pale or yellowish skin and eyes
  • headaches
  • heart palpitations

Anemia often results from a lack of iron, folate, or vitamin B-12.

Otherwise, a person may have too few blood cells or not enough hemoglobin. In people with sickle cell anemia, the blood cells are abnormally shaped.