Purple gums are caused by gum disease and can be a sign of both gingivitis and periodontitis, according to Quantum Health. Gum disease results from infection that causes inflammation. This inflammation process causes discoloration of the gums along with bleeding, bad breath, shiny gums and mouth sores. Gum disease is preventable with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits.
Gingivitis is mild gum disease, while periodontitis is severe gum disease. In many cases, gingivitis becomes periodontitis as gum disease progresses, as explained by Quantum Health. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that collects between the gums and teeth. These bacteria produce toxic by-products that inflame the gums. Gingivitis can lead to tooth loss. It is estimated that 75 percent of adults in the United States suffer from at least minor gingivitis.
Periodontitis causes the gums to recede and deep pockets to form between the teeth and gums, which leaves more room for bacteria to grow. This condition leads to tooth loss, chronic bad breath and altered appearance of the mouth. Aggravating factors for gum disease include poor diet and immune deficiencies.
Quantum Health notes that regular dental cleanings are particularly important because dentists are able to clean areas that toothbrushes and floss cannot reach. Dentists also use a process called debridement, which completely removes tartar.