Holding your teeth in place

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: October 05, 2011

/ Gums


Gums are the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place. Designed to protect teeth from bacteria and food debris, the gums also stabilize teeth and ensure teeth maintain the correct alignment.


Healthy gums

Gums that are healthy are pink in color and do not bleed when brushing teeth or eating. Healthy gum tissue, gingiva, has a smooth texture and sits flat against the top of teeth. If the gum appears to be raised, red or bumpy these are signs of gum disease. Healthy gum tissue should feel firm when touched. 


Unhealthy gums

Unhealthy gums are often caused by a build up of plaque and tartar in the mouth. If the gums are unhealthy, the bacteria that collects inside the mouth can cause damage to other areas of your body - especially the health of your heart. Gum problems are the most common cause of bad breath and can lead to tooth loss if untreated.


Keeping gums healthy

The first step to keeping gums healthy is to daily brush and floss teeth to remove bacteria and plaque. Regular dental appointments will ensure any signs of gum disease are noticed and treated before the damage spreads. 


To check the health of your gums, contact a dentist for a routine examination.


Gum Disease

The health of your gums is vital to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Your gums provide a protective layer around teeth, strengthening teeth and holding them in place. To prevent gum disease advancing and leading to tooth loss, consult a dentist at the first sign of a problem.

Gum Recontouring

The gums protect the teeth and hold teeth in position, but when you smile it is white teeth not gums that you want to see. Some people have gums that overlap the teeth too much, resulting in a 'gummy smile'. Dentists are able to improve the appearance of the smile using laser gum recontouring dental surgery.

Soft tissue grafts

Receding gums can cause dental problems as the gum does not provide complete protection from decay and infection, but receding gums also damage the appearance of the mouth making teeth look overly long. Soft tissue grafts are used by dentists to rebuild the gum tissue around exposed teeth to prevent gums from receding further and to enhance the aesthetics of teeth.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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