Causes and treatment of Gingivitis
In a healthy dog the edges of its gums fit tightly around its teeth. In a dog with gingivitis, plaque and rough calculus has built up along the gum line, producing areas where the gum is forced away from the teeth.
These areas form small pockets which trap food and bacteria. If left untreated, the gums will become infected.
What causes gingivitis in dogs?
The literal translation of ginivitis comes from "gingiva" meaning gums, and "itis" meaning "inflammation". Gingivitis in dogs is a "mild form of periodontal disease" (the top image here to the right shows gums and teeth with just a bit of plaque).
If left untreated this can progress into serious periodontal or gum disease in your dog.
If your dog has bad breath; red gums instead of pink; and gums that bleed when touched (as shown in the second image to the right), you can be sure it has chronic inflammation present to some degree.
Gingivitis in dogs is mainly caused by inadequate oral hygiene, e.g. you are not brushing your dog's teeth on a daily basis and or not giving it sufficient raw bones or hide bones to chew on.
As with humans, plaque in dogs can re-form very quickly. To be precise, plaque will form within 24 hours of brushing your dog's teeth. Plaque that remains in your dog's mouth for longer than 2 or 3 days goes hard under the gum line, and forms calculus and food traps.
As previously stated in our segment Dental Disease Precursors, plaque and calculus are the precursors to periodontal disease
Treatment for ginigivitis in dogs
Fortunately, gingivitis in dogs is reversible and treatment of the condition is always focused on preventing the condition from progressing to periodontitis.
Look at those pristine, beautifully kept teeth in the image below! I'm sure you would love to see those of your special furry friend just like that!
Your dog’s teeth will need to be professionally cleaned by your veterinarian. This will involve a general anesthetic as well as a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
Your dog's teeth cleaning treatment needs to be followed up by a regular routine of home oral care. In fact the treatment and after care prescribed for gingivitis in dogs is almost identical to treating gingivitis or gum disease in humans.