What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva, or gums, of your pet. This condition most commonly occurs as a reaction to plaque accumulation on the surface of the tooth. It can lead your pet to have mouth sensitivity and pain when eating. If left untreated, gingivitis can cause periodontitis, a painful condition with eventual tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis presents as redness and swelling along the gum line where the gum comes in contact with the tooth. Other symptoms of gingivitis are bad breath, yellow or brown crust on the tooth surface, bleeding gums, and a change in chewing.

Is my pet at risk?

Gingivitis can occur in animals at any age. It more commonly occurs in animals that have not had regular dental care. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth as often as possible, or having her teeth cleaned regularly at a groomer or vet.

Related health issues.

Poor oral health can affect the overall health of your pet. Bacteria in plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys, and liver which can damage organs and make your pet sick. 

Some common health problems experienced by pets with poor oral hygiene include: blood and bone infections, heart disease, kidney problems, liver abscesses, and diabetes mellitus.

How Gingivitis is treated.

Treatment for gingivitis involves removing plaque with a professional cleaning done by a veterinarian. This process includes a sedated exam followed by oral radiographs. While your pet is under anesthesia the vet cleans their teeth and extracts any broken teeth or teeth severely affected by periodontal disease. 

Aftercare is extremely important. Daily tooth brushing using a toothbrush and pet toothpaste is the goal; however, some animals may not tolerate brushing. In that case, use water additives, topical gels and fatty acids to maintain oral health.

Prevent Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Keep your pet healthy with preventative oral hygiene. Get your pet used to having her teeth brushed regularly, by yourself or a groomer. You can also consult with your vet about the best measures to take. If you take care of your pet’s oral health early on, you can avoid expensive dental treatments later on in her life.


Written by Kristin Adams

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Learn more about gingivitis and periodontitis by clicking below.

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