May 22, 2018

The Most Random Questions about Gums

There’s a lot of information out there to chew on when it comes to dental health, and what’s more important to chewing than gums? No, we’re not talking about the white or multi-colored and flavored candy you use to quit smoking or cover up that amazing pasta with garlic you just had; we mean the that mass of pinkish stuff that is wedded to your teeth.

One of the best features of working at Smile By Design are the many questions our patients ask us, and specifically the curiosity about gums prompts a variety of conversations with our staff. We decided to gather several of these questions and provide answers for your reading pleasure, although we still hope you have more to ask us at your next dental appointment!

  • Before answering this question, please keep in mind that there are a multitude of reasons as to how gums can recede or become damaged, and we will cover this in a different post. For now, we want to focus on the following: Do gums have the biological capabilities to heal themselves without medical intervention?


    Apologies for the short answer, but in the age of alternative medicine consisting of maple syrup remedies and baking soda concoctions, the truth can be hard to swallow. But you know what’s also difficult to swallow? The food you can’t chew when you have severe periodontal disease. Yes, generally you need medical intervention to heal or prevent further gum disease, and visiting a dentist for cleanings can reduce the chances of gum disease as they will remove potentially damaging bacteria. The one case where gums could heal themselves would be through receiving a cut. This lesion can be healed most likely through regular brushing and flossing, but an unhealthy lifestyle might increase the chances of infection.

  • No. Once they’re gone, they’re out forever. There are medical procedures a patient can undergo, including grafting, but your first, natural gums are long gone.

  • Yes, but not by themselves if there is an injury. Dental professionals actually use a technique called “pocket depth reduction” when there is a space between gums and teeth that allow for bacterial buildup. After heavily medicating your mouth, the doctor will cut open the gums, remove bacteria, tartar, and other harmful toxins, and after a few other steps, will sew the gums back to their original spot.

  • Absolutely! Soft tissue grafting procedures are the most common way of restoring gums to your mouth.

  • The short answer to this question is no, gums can’t get pimples, since the usual pimple entails oil and pores on skin. However, many times patients use the word “pimple” with the staff at Smile By Design to describe a gum cyst, abscess, candidiasis, canker sores, or cold sores. Cysts, abscesses, candidiasis, and cold sores require medical attention or intervention, while canker sores generally heal on their own.

  • No. However, as discussed above, they can develop a series of problems. Cavities are only for teeth.

  • Yes, and this is called periodontal disease which can lead to tooth decay (death) as well.

  • Yes, and the name for this is called gingival overgrowth or gingival hypertrophy. Normal functions like eating and chewing can become painful, and this overgrowth can be caused by medication used for high blood pressure, seizure prevention, and certain immunosuppressants. Puberty may also trigger gum overgrowth, and bacterial infections inside the gums may also cause inflammation. All require medical attention.

  • No.

  • No, they are considered to be soft tissue, whereas the skin that covers your body is called the epidermis and protects you from the outside world. The skin connecting your lips and on your mouth protects your gums from too much exposure to air, which can otherwise cause bacterial infections. Moist mouths with healthy saliva amounts have restorative properties for gums, unlike your skin which if left moist for too long can develop bacterial and fungal infections.

  • If you have been sexually active and maintain good oral health, then yes, bleeding gums can be an indicator that you are pregnant. The hormone responsible for this is called progesterone, and it’s released from the body to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. High levels of this hormone between the second and eighth month of pregnancy can cause “pregnancy gingivitis” (not the most original name in the world), and scheduling a visit with a dentist at Smile By Design can help prepare expecting mothers to maintain the best oral health possible during pregnancy.

  • Absolutely! This is normal, especially as new, little teeth are sprouting. Other symptoms could entail slight rises in body temperature, lots of drooling, and a small decrease in appetite. A finger or clean and wet gauze can be used to soothe the baby’s gums, or even refrigerating (but never freezing) a rubber teething ring with water in a bottle also helps. Cold apple sauce and other cold foods are a solid choice as well once your baby is consuming solid food.

    However, if bleeding gums are accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, 102 degree F or higher temperature, or a lack of eating for several feedings, please consult a pediatrician as soon as possible.

  • No, and if they are bleeding on a regular basis, you have periodontal disease. Smoking contributes to this, but an unhealthy lifestyle combined with improper oral care can cause gums to bleed after flossing. Even if gums do bleed you should continue to floss, and the act of flossing should be carried out gently. Smile By Design also encourages patients to purchase a soft toothbrush and to brush gently as well as excessive force can damage gums.

  • Wow, we covered a lot in this post, and we are sure you have more questions you’d like to ask about gums. Feel free to comment here, and if this post has inspired you to contact us for a tooth cleaning appointment, let our staff know so we can get you a discount for being a good reader!