Dental problems in dogs can lead to major health concerns if left untreated. At our Pleasant Hill veterinary clinic, our team will help you recognize dental issues and explain the importance of routine dental care.
Plaque & Tartar Buildup
Plaque and tartar buildup can accumulate in a dog’s mouth over time, especially if they don’t receive a regular dental cleaning from a veterinarian. This is not good for your dog because plaque is mostly bacteria. If left on the tooth, it will harden and turn a yellowish color. This will eventually turn into tartar, which will remain stuck to the tooth until it is scraped off by a veterinarian.
Plaque and tartar buildup are the main causes of gum disease and tooth loss in dogs. The most common signs to look out for are a very red and swollen gum line, discolored deposits on the teeth, and increasingly bad breath. As the dental disease worsens, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as bleeding of the gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease refers to the deterioration of the gum and bone that surrounds the tooth. This most commonly occurs when untreated plaque and tartar stick to the tooth and make their way beneath the gum line.
This disease starts in the form of gingivitis but can turn into periodontal disease as the gum and bone around the tooth deteriorate. When this occurs, pockets can develop around the tooth, allowing food and bacteria to collect below the tooth. If left unattended, dangerous infections can arise and the teeth will begin to fall out.
Common signs and symptoms of canine periodontitis include:
- Bad breath
- Brown or yellow teeth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Weight loss
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Bloody saliva
- Excessive drooling
- Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- Reduced appetite
- Problems keeping food in the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.
Tooth fractures are a very common occurrence in dogs. With all of the chewing that dogs do, whether they are eating or playing, it is not surprising. Even everyday items that dogs use, such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys, can cause a tooth fracture, such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys.
Dog toys should be small enough that your pet doesn't have to entirely open its mouth. It should also be large enough that there won't be a concern of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.
An oral infection is an outcome of a pocket around the root of the tooth that has been filled with bacteria. Infections are primarily caused by periodontitis, but can also be initiated due to trauma-induced chewing on hard or sharp objects. Some infections can be fatal as the bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream and causes organ disease/failure in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain.
Routine Dental Care
Create a dental care routine for your dog to maintain oral hygiene and help prevent oral problems.
Introduce food or water additives as an easy way to improve and maintain the health and strength of their teeth and bones. Adjusting your dog's diet can also help improve oral hygiene, even with small exchanges like providing dental chews instead of less healthy treats.
Our Pleasant Hill vets also recommend brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. A daily brushing would be best if your dog will tolerate the process. Although it is not very realistic, brushing their teeth every day would be best if your dog will tolerate the process.
Be sure to bring your dog in for an oral hygiene cleaning and routine dental examination with your veterinarian at least once every year; scheduling this annual appointment for your dog or cat could be compared to booking your own appointments with your dentist. Some smaller breeds of dogs should go two or more times a year due to their teeth's shallow roots.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.