Pet Gum Disease and Oral Health

pet gum disease

Pet Gum Disease and Oral Health

Just as gum disease is an oral health concern for humans, it’s also an issue that can plague our pets. Without the proper oral health care, plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth can lead to inflammation of the gums and gingivitis. Preventative measures such as tooth brushing, the use of appropriate dental chews and regular oral checkups all help to decrease the potential of pet gum disease.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva or gums. The gingiva is part of the periodontium, or the tissue, that surrounds the crown of the tooth and helps protect the tooth from infection. Gingivitis most commonly occurs as a reaction to plaque accumulation on the surface of the tooth. Gingivitis may also have a familial component as in humans.

Identifying Gingivitis in Pets

Gingivitis appears as reddened gums along the margin of the tooth. It can lead to mouth sensitivity, as well as pain when eating. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common complaint when a pet has gum disease. The danger of gingivitis is that if left unchecked, it will progress to periodontitis, a painful condition that leads to eventual tooth loss. Both dogs and cats can experience gingivitis. Gingivitis may occur at any age but is more commonly seen in teeth which have not had regular dental care. Our veterinary dental specialists at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery can identify gingivitis during an oral exam.

Treating Gingivitis in Pets

Treatment of gingivitis involves removing the inciting cause. In most cases, this means a professional cleaning under anesthesia with full mouth radiographs. After a professional cleaning with your veterinarian, oral home care is extremely important to keep gingivitis under control. Daily tooth brushing is presently considered the gold standard in maintaining a healthy mouth. Mechanical removal of plaque accumulation through brushing keeps the tooth surface clean and healthy.

Additional therapies include topical gels and rinses, topical fatty acids, and water additives. Due to gum sensitivity, brushing may be not be tolerated easily by some pets. Topical application of veterinary dental specific fatty acids and gels can be beneficial in many cases. There are numerous products on the market, however, as your local veterinary dentists in Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, Co., we recommend sourcing products through your veterinarian when addressing active gingivitis. Our pet dental specialists are dedicated and passionate about providing your four-legged companion with cutting-edge dental and oral care. If it’s been a while since you brought your pet in for an oral exam, make an appointment today!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/31/19) By Patrice Alsteen