The gingiva, or gums, consist of the mucosal tissue that lies over the mandible and maxilla inside the mouth. Gum health and disease (gingivitis) can have an effect on general health.
The gingival cavity microecosystem, fueled by food residues and saliva, can support the growth of many microorganisms, of which some can be injurious to health. Improper or insufficient oral hygiene can thus lead to many gum and periodontal disorders, including gingivitis or periodontitis, which are major causes for tooth failure. Recent studies have also shown that anabolic steroids are also closely associated with gingival enlargement requiring a gingivectomy for many cases. Gingival recession is when there is an apical movement of the gum margin away from the biting (occlusal) surface. It may indicate an underlying inflammation such as periodontitis or pyorrhea, a pocket formation, dry mouth or displacement of the marginal gums away from the tooth by mechanical (such as brushing), chemical, or surgical means. Gingival retraction, in turn, may expose the dental neck and leave it vulnerable to the action of external stimuli, and may cause root sensitivity.