Gingivitis is a reversible inflammation of gums surrounding the teeth. It is an inflammation of the gum tissue resulting in redness and swelling, most commonly caused by dental plaque.
The gingival sulcus, or gum pocket, is the narrow space between the inner wall of the gum and the tooth. As gingivitis develops, the bacteria present in these pockets changes for the worse, and the accumulation of more bacteria, which release toxins, destroy gums.
Dental calculus (also called tartar) is composed of calcium salts, food particles, bacteria, and other organic material. It is yellow-brown and soft when first deposited. At the soft stage it is called plaque. The plaque quickly hardens into calculus. Calculus collects on all tooth surfaces, but is found in the greatest amounts on the cheek side of the upper premolars and molars. This buildup of calculus on the teeth is the primary cause of gum inflammation.
Gingivitis affects more than 80 percent of dogs three years or over while it occurs earlier in toy breeds.
Common symptoms associated with this condition include
Red or swollen gums, especially on the side of the gum facing the inner cheeks
Bad breath (halitosis)
Variable amounts of plaque and calculus