Most of the time, your gum infection is caused by the basic oral bacteria that are constantly fighting to gain a foothold in your mouth. But sometimes there might be a strange cause for your gum disease that could take a little extra attention.

Gum Tattooing

Remember when we watched that woman getting her gums tattooed black rather than get teeth whitening? In addition to the significant discomfort, any kind of tattooing of the gums can result in an infection if the tattooing instruments aren’t properly sterilized.

Make sure you tell your dentist if you’ve had gum tattooing, or, really, any cosmetic work in the mouth by anyone other than a dentist.


The human immuno virus is the culprit behind AIDS (autoimmune deficiency syndrome). HIV is an unusual virus because it specifically attacks your immune system, compromising your body’s ability to fight infections, including gum disease infections, which can suddenly erupt once your immune system is affected.

If you have engaged in high-risk behaviors or have symptoms of HIV infection, you need to get tested to eliminate this possibility.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is very rare in the US. However, it is widespread in tropical areas, and you can catch it essentially anywhere, including tropical Asia, Africa, Central and South America, even southern Mexico, such as visiting the Mayan ruins around Cancun. Dengue fever doesn’t really “infect” the gums, but if you have contracted the disease, you might notice excessive bleeding around the gums.


Scurvy is a condition that most of us only think of around Talk Like a Pirate Day. It was a very common ailment in the past, though. Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin C, which is essential for your body to make collagen. Collagen is a protein integral to the structure of many tissues, including your gums.

As a result, bleeding and receding gums are one of the most common and noticeable symptoms of scurvy.

Cancer Treatment

It’s an unfortunate side effect of cancer treatment that it often leads to the suppression of your immune system. As a result, your body can develop some serious infections, often related to what are normally harmless or even helpful microorganisms. This includes not just bacteria, but also fungus, which are common in our environment, and normally kept under control easily by our immune system.

It’s important to note that other treatments that suppress your immune system, such as treatment for autoimmune disorders, can also lead to gum disease.

If you are not sure what’s causing your gum disease, we can help. Please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry today.