Why Do Some People Have “Thin” Gums?

Why Do Some People Have “Thin” Gums?

Translucent, thin gums give some patients for concern, but should they?

If you take a look at your own gums in a mirror, the chances are that you will see a set of healthy pink gums, providing that you have looked after them of course.

This is not the same for everyone though and some people may notice that their gums seem to be on the thin side, and sometimes semi transparent.

This is a condition known as gingival biotype and is largely hereditary. There is nothing that you can do to increase the thickness, but it is useful to be aware of this condition as you will need to pay extra special attention to how you look after them.

Healthy gums

Even with healthy and pink gums of normal thickness, you should, of course, not ignore your gum health. Thicker gums will not prevent gingival problems such as gingivitis if you don’t look after them. Brushing, flossing and a regular scale and polish at the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich are all essential components of a good oral health regimen.

As we have mentioned in previous blogs, allowing your gums to deteriorate will not only result in soreness and possible bleeding, but can even led to eventual tooth loss if it is not corrected.

Looking after thin gums

Patients who have thinner gums are at an increased risk of a number of dental issues. Due to having less protection, it is important to maintain what you already have, by looking after them correctly.

One issue that is perhaps more likely is tooth sensitivity. Hot and cold will be able to reach the roots of the teeth more easily, and especially as the roots of the tooth are not protected by an enamel layer, you may well find that you are in some discomfort. Although this is not necessarily harmful, patients with thinner gums may wish to avoid very hot or cold food and drinks to minimise this discomfort.

Excessive brushing

One thing that gingival biotype patients should pay special attention to is the way that they brush their teeth. Whilst it is important to brush your teeth well, it is equally important that you don’t use too much force to do so. Even with thicker gums, this can cause gum erosion. If your gums are on the thin side, this will happen much more easily, exposing the tooth root and making it more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. If you are not sure of the best way to brush your teeth with this condition, please arrange to see the hygienist to discuss the most appropriate approach to your cleaning routine. You may also be recommended to use a softer bristled toothbrush to avoid excessive wear.

Recovery following dental surgery

From time to time, you may require dental surgery, perhaps to have a tooth extracted. Although every care will be taken by our Greenwich dentists to minimise damage to the gums, some minor trauma is inevitable. Patients who have thinner gums may find that recovery from procedures such as this is more difficult, so it is especially important that you follow your dentist’s advice in this situation.


However well you look after your gums at home, we recommend that everyone also has professional supervision from a dental hygienist. This particularly applies to gingival biotype patients who may require some additional help. Whatever your situation though, everybody will benefit from having their teeth scaled and polished on a regular basis.

Dental implants suitability

Although we firmly believe that implants are the best replacement for a missing tooth, it is important to assess the patient’s suitability prior to the procedure taking place. Those with thinner gums may prove not to be suitable candidates. If you have been considering having implants placed though, and have this problem, we recommend that you still have an initial assessment as this may vary from patient to patient. Where not suitable, alternatives such as dentures or bridges may be suggested.

Your gum health is important, whether you have thick or thin gums. So if you have not had your gum health assessed recently, why not make an appointment to see one of our friendly dentist’s team to have this done. You can make an appointment by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 8858 1422.

Dr Sandeep Patel – Practice Principal – GDC 65766