The gingiva, or gums, are part of the soft tissue lining of the mouth. The gingiva surrounds the teeth and provides a seal around them. Compared with the soft tissue linings of the lips and cheeks, most of the gingiva is tightly bound to the underlying bone which helps resist the friction of food passing over it. Thus, when healthy, it presents an effective barrier to the barrage of insults to deeper tissue. Healthy gingiva has a stippled appearance and is usually coral pink in color, but may contain melanin pigmentation as well.