Gingival thickness in dogs: association with age, gender, and dental arch location

J Vet Dent. 2008 Jun;25(2):106-9. doi: 10.1177/089875640802500211.


Reduced gingival thickness is one of many factors that might predispose humans to periodontal disease and subsequent gingival recession. Gingival thickness differs between individuals, and is associated with age, gender, and location on the dental arch. Different gingival phenotypes exist in the human population according to the thickness of gingiva. Similar information on gingival phenotypes in dogs is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the thickness of the gingiva in dogs and its relation to age, gender and location on the dental arch. For this study, 48 dogs of comparable size (40-cm at withers) were divided into three groups according to their age as follows: < 2-years of age; 2 to 8-years of age; > 8-years of age. Gingival thickness was measured in both the mandible and maxilla using a transgingival probing technique. The graded probe was inserted midway into the attached gingiva at the level of each tooth class region. Young and middle aged dogs had significantly thicker gingiva (1.67 +/- 0.17 mm and 1.68 +/- 0.18 mm, respectively) compared with older dogs (1.54 +/- 0.16 mm). There was no significant difference in gingival thickness based on location or gender Generally, the gingiva was thicker at the level of large teeth such as canine and carnassial teeth. Regions of thinner gingiva at the level of incisor and premolar teeth correlated with the regions of highest prevalence of periodontal disease found in previous studies.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Dental Arch / anatomy & histology*
  • Dogs / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Gingiva / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Mouth Mucosa / anatomy & histology
  • Sex Factors