What should healthy gums look like

Overview of Healthy Gums

Healthy gums should be a pale pink color with no signs of inflammation or discoloration. They should also be firm and fit snugly around your teeth. Beyond appearance, healthy gums will not bleed when you brush or floss. Knowing what healthy gums look like is important in order to detect and address any warning signs of gum disease before it becomes serious.

Let’s take a closer look:

What are healthy gums?

Gums are important for the integrity and health of your teeth, as infections of the gums can easily spread to your teeth. Healthy gums should appear pink and tightly hug each tooth. If gums appear red or swollen, this is indicative of inflammation or infection and should be further evaluated by a dentist.

In addition, healthy gums are firm and tight against each tooth. Though it is normal to have some slight dental recession as you age (which exposes more yellow dentin), if it appears that your gum line is far receding away from the top part of each tooth, this could be a sign of gum disease or periodontal disease.

In order to properly care for your gums, regular brushing, flossing and mouthrinsing with an antiseptic solution is recommended. In addition, regular checkups with your dentist are paramount in order to determine if any signs of gum disease may be present. If they are found early on, then treatment and management can begin quickly in order to reduce any further damage from occurring.

Signs of healthy gums

Having healthy gums is essential to your oral health, since the gums protect teeth from bacterial and fungal infections. Healthy gums should have a pale pink hue and have a consistent texture throughout the entire mouth. If you look closely, you’ll see that healthy gums are also characterized by slightly stippled, evenly coloured gum lines that fit snugly around each tooth with minimal spacing in between.

When brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, check to make sure there is no redness or swelling around your gum line—both are signs of an infection such as periodontal disease. Additionally, it’s important to look out for any bleeding when brushing or flossing. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, it’s best to visit the dentist right away in order to prevent further complications.

Another indication of unhealthy gums is when your gums appear recessed or have abnormal pockets around them—this could indicate gum recession due to periodontal disease that requires immediate attention from a dentist. Finally, keep in mind that if your mouth often has bad breath or there is an unpleasant taste present even after brushing and flossing correctly, it could be indicative of gum inflammation which requires urgent medical attention.

By being mindful of any changes in your gum colour or texture during daily oral hygiene sessions along with seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups, you can ensure optimal health for both the teeth and the gums.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common dental problem that can lead to serious issues. Some of the primary causes of gum disease are poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes and gum infections. Other factors can also contribute to gum disease, such as genetics, age, and lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of gum disease:

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gum disease. Plaque, a sticky film made up of bacteria, can build up on teeth if not removed regularly. Symptoms of poor oral hygiene include swollen or bleeding gums and tenderness when biting or chewing.

Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day can help disrupt plaque formation and prevent the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. Proper brushing should reach all areas between teeth, up to the gum line, where plaque builds up quickly.

Uncontrolled alcohol and tobacco use also increases your risk for gum disease, as well as certain types of medications that cause dry mouth or decrease saliva production. Furthermore, genetic predisposition to periodontal disease, age-related issues such as hormonal shifts and pregnancy, stress, diabetes and some illnesses can also contribute to gum disease development in some individuals. It is important to consult a dentist if you think any of these factors may be affecting your oral health.


Smoking is a risk factor for gum disease as well as many other health issues. Tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco products, affects the function of your gum tissue and the natural healing ability of your body. If you smoke, it takes your gum tissue longer to regenerate cells damaged by bacteria in plaque. Smoking also decreases blood flow to your gums and makes it more difficult for them to heal from infection or other damage caused by bacteria.

Long-term effects of smoking on your gums can lead to gum recession and potential tooth loss due to decreased amounts of collagen in the gum tissue—the same protein necessary for healthy bones and ligaments. Smoking can also worsen existing problems such as those caused by periodontal disease or bone loss around the teeth if not addressed with proper treatment from a dental professional.


Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums and other tissues that support the teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque and bacteria on the teeth. Diabetes can play a significant role in gum health; many who suffer from diabetes are more at risk for gum infections than those who don’t suffer from diabetes.

It is important to note that, while rates of gum disease are higher among those with diabetes, people with well-controlled blood sugar levels can still maintain healthy gums. This is because the main cause of periodontal diseases is regularly not properly cleaning your teeth (brushing and flossing on a regular basis, visiting your dentist for routine professional cleanings), which all diabetics should be doing every day.

However, if diabetes isn’t managed well or if it isn’t diagnosed until late stages, there is an increased risk associated with it as sufferers may be unaware of the signs and symptoms that precede more serious cases of gum disease. Due to issues controlling sugar levels, people with diabetes may experience:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sugar content in saliva – which increases bacterial growth
  • Impaired healing response to infection due to weakened immune system
  • General medical conditions related to complications associated with diabetes such as renal failure

These factors significantly increase gum bacteria build-up leading to greater risks for developing advanced gum diseases such as abscess necrotic lesions or destruction of tissue surrounding teeth including bones and gums; therefore greater propensity towards tooth loss among diabetics compared to non-diabetic population being more common.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue, which can affect the health of your entire mouth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums.

Symptoms of gum disease can range from mild to severe, including:

  • Red, swollen, tender, and bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gum lines

Knowing the signs of gum disease is important in order to take steps to prevent or treat it.

Red, swollen, or tender gums

One of the earliest signs of gum disease is redness, swelling, and tenderness in your gums. These symptoms may be caused by a number of conditions, but if you experience any 3 of these at once it may be indicative of gum disease.

When healthy, your gums should appear pink and firm when pressed against the teeth. They should also fit snugly around each tooth, creating a tight seal along the gum line that protects more vulnerable tissues from exposure and infection. However, if you start to notice any sign of inflammation or looseness in your gums, it could mean that early stages of periodontal disease are present.

Gum inflammation is often accompanied by pain or discomfort while brushing or flossing and increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods. You may also notice pimple like bumps around the gum line because bacteria have breached the defense tissue at this point causing pouches called abscesses. Your gums may even begin to recede away from your teeth if the infection has been allowed to fester for some time.

If you experience any combination of these symptoms it is important to make an appointment with your dentist immediately as gum disease can lead to more serious problems including tooth loss and impact other areas of your health through links with diabetes and heart disease.

Bleeding while brushing or flossing

Bleeding while brushing or flossing is one of the earliest indicators of gum disease. The bacteria in plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed, resulting in bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth. This can be an indicator of gingivitis, which is the first stage of periodontal, or gum, disease. If you notice that brushing and flossing makes your gums bleed often, it is important to schedule a visit with a dentist to examine your gums and ensure proper dental health.

Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • Redness and swelling in unheathy gums
  • Receding gum lines (which can make your teeth look longer)
  • Sensitivity when eating cold or hot foods
  • Persistent bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you brush and floss
  • Loose teeth due to changes in the jawbone that can occur as a result of periodontal disease.

If you have any of these symptoms it is important to talk with a dentist right away.

Receding gums

When a person has unhealthy gums, they can suffer from receding gums. This is when the gum line that runs around the teeth starts to pull away and retract. It can cause gaps between the teeth where food can get trapped or accumulate and cause further harm to the mouth. Generally, this condition is caused by poor oral hygiene or brushing technique, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying infection such as gingivitis or periodontitis.

If left unchecked, receding gums may lead to pain, loosening of teeth and even tooth loss.

Receding gums are indicated by redness along the gum line and tooth roots that become exposed. The color of healthy gums should be pink, not deep red or purple, with no bumps or swellings on them. People experiencing receding gums may also experience:

  • Bleeding during meals or while brushing teeth;
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures;
  • Bad breath;
  • Tenderness when touching areas near mouth;
  • Puss in between teeth;
  • Altered bite;
  • Decreased attachments of tooth enamel to gum tissue.

If you think you have any symptoms of receding gums, it’s best to visit your dentist as soon possible for examination and treatment advice. Good oral hygiene habits are essential for keeping your mouth healthy and preventing further damage due to gum disease such as recession or tooth loss.

Treatment of Gum Disease

If your gum health is poor, then you may be suffering from gum disease. It’s important to seek treatment before it becomes worse. Treatment options include professional cleaning, antibiotics, and surgery.

This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option so that readers can make an informed decision about what’s right for them:

  • Professional cleaning
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery

Professional dental cleaning

It’s important to get professional dental cleaning and checkups done on a regular basis to detect the early signs of gum disease so that it can be treated quickly. During the appointment, your dentist or hygienist will professionally remove plaque and tartar buildup from above and below the gum line of all your teeth. This helps to remove any bacteria living in these areas and prevents further damage to the surrounding gums and teeth.

It’s also important for you to brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure that you change your toothbrush every three months, or whenever it starts to look worn. Flossing is also essential for removal of plaque build up between teeth where your toothbrush may not reach.

If left untreated, gum disease can result in more serious problems such as bone loss and tooth loss, so it is important to take immediate action if you notice signs of it developing such as redness around your gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, gums that appear swollen or tender, bad breath or loose teeth. Visit your local dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms as they will be able to assess the condition of your gums from their experience of treating various types of periodontal (gum) diseases.


Gum disease can be prevented or reversed with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits, but sometimes your dentist or periodontist may recommend antibiotics to clear up infection. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for severe cases of advanced gum disease that cannot be controlled with regular dental cleanings and good oral hygiene.

Penicillin-based antibiotics can be used to treat gum inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, certain systemic antibiotics such as Amoxicillin and Doxycycline, are commonly prescribed to attack the bacteria associated with gingivitis, periodontal disease and other forms of advanced gum infection. When combined with a program of regular dental care including specific oral hygiene instructions, prescription toothpastes and specialized mouth rinses, these medications help tackle bacteria that traditional treatments may not be able to reach.

Antibiotics are generally taken either orally or topically applied directly onto the infected gums. However, even when antibiotics do have an effect on the underlying cause of gum disease they cannot repair any anatomical damage caused by the infection (bone loss). In such cases it may be necessary to undergo additional surgical procedures in order to restore lost tissue integrity.

Fortunately, we have more conservative treatments available today such as:

  • minimally invasive surgical techniques intended to restore lost bone tissue and generate new softer tissue connections with minimal disruption to healthy tissues;
  • which help reduce patient discomfort postoperatively.


For severe cases of gum disease that have caused gum tissue to recede, surgery may be necessary to repair and restore the gums. Depending on your specific needs, your dentist or periodontist may recommend one of the following procedures:

  • Soft Tissue Grafts – This procedure involves extracting healthy tissue from another area in the mouth (often the roof of the mouth) and attaching it over areas where loss or recession has occurred.
  • Bone Grafts – If bone around the teeth has been lost due to periodontal disease, bone material may be used to restore its structure. The new bone material can help prevent further deterioration and even promote new bone growth in some cases.
  • Gum Flap Surgery – To gain access to a deep root infection, flap surgery is sometimes needed to pull back gums that are covering it. Once accessed, diseased root canals will then be treated and cleaned if necessary before repositioning the flap for closure.
  • Laser Therapy – Often used as an alternative to traditional cutting techniques, lasers provide a bloodless option with less discomfort and faster healing after surgery is complete.

Prevention of Gum Disease

When it comes to maintaining healthy gums, prevention is key. Good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing, are essential to preventing gum disease. However, knowing what healthy gums should look like can also help you identify any health issues early on and get them treated before they get worse. Let’s take a look at what healthy gums should look like:

Brush and floss regularly

Regular brushing and flossing is essential for healthy gums, and everyone should brush at least twice a day. The setting and pressure of your toothbrush should be gentle enough so that it doesn’t cause damage to the gums or teeth. You should also pay attention to the bristles – they should be soft enough to not scratch your teeth or gums.

Brushing correctly is just as important as brushing regularly: Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short, gentle strokes in a circular motion. Make sure you get each surface of your teeth: front surfaces, back surfaces, and chewing surfaces. You can also use an interdental brush or plaque remover in hard-to-reach places where plaque tends to collect.

Floss every day after brushing for about two minutes – use small movements for each area between your teeth. Don’t forget about the back of your last tooth! Flossing will remove food particles that can cause problems with plaque build-up if not removed. It’s best to buy plastic flossers from the drugstore, because these make it easy to floss on-the-go and are more comfortable than using regular string floss.

Use an antiseptic mouthwash

Regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash can contribute to the prevention of gum disease. Antiseptic mouthwashes are available over-the-counter and can help prevent gum infections and reduce harmful bacteria that build up in the gums.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using an antiseptic mouthwash that has been approved by the FDA, such as those containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) or chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX). These active ingredients in these two popular mouthwashes act as broad spectrum antimicrobials and help reduce plaque buildup.

In addition, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene habits like:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time.
  • Flossing once a day.
  • Avoiding smoking or any type of tobacco use.

Even with regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash, these good habits should be maintained to achieve or maintain healthy gums and reduce the risk of tooth decay or gum disease.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is one of the most significant contributors to gum disease. The toxins in cigarette smoke cause a systemic capillary constriction that lowers the amount of oxygen that reaches gum tissue. This causes them to become inflamed, weak and vulnerable to bacterial attack. Smoking is known to increase the risk of periodontal disease, as well as other oral health issues such as bad breath, stained teeth and an increased risk for oral cancer.

The best way to protect your gums from further damage is to stop smoking. If you need assistance with quitting, there are many resources available including support groups, prescription medications and over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies.