Gums were a structure surrounding the teeth.

In 1986, Gillian Taylor corrected the false belief that whales attacked Humans like in the novel Moby-Dick, saying that most whales didn't have teeth, but rather "a soft gum-like tissue" that strained shrimp out of the water, adding that this act of eating was as hostile as they ever got. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

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