The part of the bone of the jaw to which the teeth are attached is known as the alveolar bone. The gum known in the medical parlance as the gingival is a dense fibrous tissue of the alveolar bones of the jaws; and the gum is the most vulnerable spot of the teeth.

The color of the normal gum is pale, ‘‘cool’’ coral pink, and in the adult the tissue of the gum is dense, firm to touch and insensitive to moderate pressure. In children, the gum appears redder and more delicate. The healthy fits snuggly around the teeth covers the neck of the teeth, filling up each space between the teeth to the contact areas of the teeth. The gum ends in a thin delicate edge and does not bleed easily.

Naturally, between a reflected free gum and the neck of a tooth there is a shallow space called the gum space.  A disease causing increase in the depth of the gum space surrounding a tooth at the gum margin, often extending on the root surface is known as gum pocket or periodontal pocket or gingival pocket.

When such a pocket reaches sufficient depth, the soft tissues around the neck of the tooth may approximate the tooth so tightly that the orifice of the pocket is occluded. Bacterial multiply in the depth of the pocket and cause sufficient irritation to form an acute abscess with exudation of pus into the area. A foreign body, particularly food debris, in such pocket may also lead to an abscess formation.

 When this abscess (pus) formation is allowed to exist or untreated, it progresses and may result in sufficient swelling, destroys the alveolar plate of bone and with time balloon the overlying tissues of the degenerated and displaced alveolar bone but does not open out through the gum. Such a blind abscess arising from a tooth, which is pointing on the overlying gum is called gum boil.


The following is a characteristic of the illness associated with gum boil:

·    Swollen gum

·    Mild pain (this may even be absent)

·    Salty taste saliva

·    Release of pus from the neck of a tooth on pressure or when it bursts on its own


·    Tooth decay

·    Gum infection. Example through the use of locally made tooth pick

·    Destruction and infection of the gum tissue.


1.    Go easy on sweets and sugary foods. They aid tooth decay.

2.    Eat nutritious foods like fruits, fish, eggs, milk etc which contain calcium for strong bones and healthy teeth and gum.

3.    Brush your teeth at least twice everyday using a fluoride tooth paste. This is better done after breakfast and more importantly as the last thing at night when going to bed. This provides a clean teeth, healthy gum and sweet fresh breath.

4.    Learn the conventional way of tooth brushing from your dentist who will demonstrate to you using a model.

5.    Stop the habit of tooth picking after every meal. If the need arises, use the conventional toothpick.

6.    Avoid trauma or injury to the gum or the teeth and the bony support.

7.    Always keep a date with your dentist.