The Progression of Gingivitis to Periodontal Disease: Canine

Mild Gingivitis
Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Plaque covering teeth. Treatment can reverse condition.

    It doesn't matter if you are feeding your Kuvasz a meaty bone diet. It doesn't matter if they spend time crunching hard food, chewy bones, and gritty treats too. You must still brush their teeth and massage their gums.

    According to Upjohn, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, "more than 85 percent of dogs and cats over 4 years old suffer from periodontal disease". The pictures I've included are worth a thousand words.

    Even though your dog's teeth may look alright, bacteria is ever present and multiplying at the gum line. Just as our gums will sometimes bleed if we don't floss and stimulate them, a dog's will too. Then the gums start to recede from the teeth creating more space for bacteria to grow, and the attack on the roots and jaw begins. Even worse, the bacteria enters your companion's bloodstream through the mouth and gum tissues, and can infect the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and even the nervous system.

    Aside from the obvious health and financial benefits of caring for your dog's teeth, regular and frequent maintenance also reinforces your alpha status. If you include this oral hygiene regimen with frequent handling of an 8 week old pup, the exercise will be met with only passive resistance when a Kuvasz is grown.

    All dogs have the same number of teeth, so it's comparatively easier to work in a larger Kuvasz mouth rather than a Yorkshire Terrier's. You can purchase distinctive implements which will fit on your finger like those pictured on the Kuvasz As Pets page, and special doggie toothpaste. You shouldn't use human tooth paste since it isn't meant to be swallowed, or baking soda since the sodium content isn't good for a dog's stomach.

Moderate Gingivitis
Entire attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.
Severe Gingivitis
Cherry red and bleeding attached gingiva (gum). Gingiva is becoming destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behaviour. 
Bad breath is present.
Beginning of periodontal disease. May become irreversible.
Periodontal Disease
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth and bone. Bacteria are spreading throughout the body via the blood stream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart.


These photos show the left atrium of a dog's healthy heart at left, compared to a diseased heart shown at right.

The diseased heart has been attacked by a bacterial infection and shows signs of vegetative mitral valvular endocarditis.

The pictures of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and their text references, are from a C.E.T. Home Dental Care product pamphlet. The pictures of the health and diseased heart are courtesy of Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, and are from an Upjohn pamphlet distributed by Janssen.