Your dog's dental and oral health has an impact on their overall health! In today's post, our Brighton vets discuss some common signs and types of dog dental problems.
Canine Dental Care
It's important to ensure that your dog's oral hygiene is up to par to maintain their overall well-being, but most dogs don't receive the dental health care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
In fact, many veterinarians identify some form of periodontal disease (gum disease) or other dental issues by the time dogs reach about 3 years of age. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
The best way to ensure your dog maintains their oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
Symptoms Of Dental Issues In Dogs
It can be challenging to spot early signs of dental health issues in dogs, but if you notice any of the following it is time to arrange an appointment with your vet:
- Extra teeth/retained baby teeth
- Bleeding in or around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Excessive drooling or blood in drool
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Dropping food
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Issues
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque buildup on your dog's teeth. If plaque isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar which becomes more difficult to remove.
Further tartar buildup causes gaps or pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where bacteria can gather, causing an infection to develop. If gum disease isn't treated eventually your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
As periodontal disease progresses, the open space around the tooth roots can become infected, causing a good deal of pain for your dog and potentially resulting in a tooth root abscess.
Besides the negative oral health impacts of a tooth infection, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall body health. Just as in humans, there have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function, and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
It's no secret that dogs love to chew! As a pet parent, however, you should be aware that chewing on certain items like bones or very hard plastic can cause your pet's teeth to fracture or break. Tooth fractures are also more likely when your dog is chewing on an object that is too big for their mouth.
When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. Speak to your vet about what they would recommend.
Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). In most situations, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age. However, in some cases some of the teeth will remain. This can cause over-crowding which can result in extra plaque build up and make it more difficult to keep your pup's mouth clean.
Typically, your vet will recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.
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.