Gums or gingiva are the soft tissue that protect and support the teeth. Healthy gums are bound to the teeth and protect the roots from being affected by the friction and decay associated with eating. Most diseases of the gums, such as gingivitis, are well within the profession of dentistry and are not dealt with by physicians.
However, several diseases that are not centered in the teeth and jaw can affect the gums, such as anabolic steroid abuse and Sjogren's syndrome. As such, both dentists and doctors have to be trained not to assume that bleeding, inflammation and edema of the gums are simply a problem with dental hygiene.