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Oral home care in dogs with gingivitis
Gingivitis is often diagnosed at routine examinations e.g. when the dogs come in for vaccination. To select the proper homecare regimen, a correct diagnosis and grading of the periodontal pathology present in the patient must be completed. This article gives an excellent summary about the best techniques - and how to proceed to keep the owner motivated for a good home care.

The young patient with gingivitis (usually 2 years of age and younger) is the easiest to manage. In these patients, there is no deep attachment loss. Inflammation of the gingiva with or without edema is commonly noted. This is a reversible form of periodontal disease.

Each owner should be encouraged to use a canine dentifrice in these patients on a daily basis. Herein lies the initial problem. Veterinarians do not believe that their clients will initiate a daily homecare program. The owner will do whatever is necessary if the reason for the treatment is explained in detail.

Dentifrices

Dentifrices or toothpastes are simply abrasive compounds that mechanically assist in the removal of plaque from the tooth-gingival interface. They contain many different ingredients.

The common ingredient in all dentifrices is the polishing agent. Common polishing agents are calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, silica, and alumina hydroxide. Each dentifrice also has a flavoring vehicle to make it palatable.

I`ve found that the poultry flavored dentifrice is the most acceptable for the canine or feline. Some dentifrice systems contain fluoride. The understanding of the therapeutic level of fluoride and/or need of this product in animal dentifrices has not been determined at this time.

Many authors have described the Modified Bass and Stillman tooth brushing techniques. The understanding of the elementary concept of brushing is much more important than mastering a particular brush movement. The brush must be used in a way so that the motion of the head is successful in removing plaque and debris from interdental areas and the gingival sulcus.

All areas must be treated with gentle but firm brushing strokes. If bleeding is occurring when brushing, evaluate the cause of the bleeding. The bleeding may be a red flag of a serious periodontal problem or something as simple as over-brushing.

Brushing systems

The toothbrush used can be a child`s soft brush or a veterinary toothbrush. The client can be trained with a finger brush or something as simple as a gauze or panty hose square wrapped around their finger to remove plaque. It is important to find the homecare program that works for your client and is acceptable to their canine or feline friend. Again, emphasize that oral hygiene must be repeated daily.

The four `R`s` of oral care

* The positive maintenance condition (PMC):

The four `R`s`- Re-examine, Re-treat, Re-motivate and Re-instruct are essential.

Source: Donald H. DeForge (2002): Homecare success hinges on product selection, daily use, client compliance. In: DVM Newsmagazine March 1, 2002. www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/





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