It is important for your dog to have strong and healthy teeth as they not only need them for chewing but it is also important to their overall health. In today's post, our Perry vets discuss some common signs and types of dental disease in dogs and how they are treated.
Dental Care for Dogs
Dental care for dogs is one of the most important parts of their overall healthcare, unfortunately, not all dogs receive adequate preventive dental care.
In fact, it is common for our Perry vets to witness signs of dental disease in most dogs by the time they are only three years old. This can have a detrimental effect on their long-term health and well-being as some of these conditions could cause irreversible damage if left untreated.
The best way to ensure your dog maintains their oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
How can I tell if my dog is experiencing dental disease?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your dog is experiencing any type of dental condition, however, if yo become aware of any of the following symptoms please contact your vet to have your dog seen as soon as possible:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Dropping food
- Chewing on one side
Common Dental Diseases and Conditions in Dogs
Periodontal Disease in Dogs
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build-up on your pup's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult to remove.
When tartar builds up between your dog's teeth and gum line it can cause serious infections to develop. If left untreated this gum disease can cause your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
Oral Infections in Dogs
With periodontal disease, the roots of your dog's teeth are exposed and can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. With these infections, your dog will be in immeasurable pain and they can result in a tooth root abscess.
Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, 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.
Dog Tooth Fractures
One thing that all dogs have in common is that chewing is one of their favorite pastimes. However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic can cause your pup's teeth to fracture or break. One of the most common causes of tooth fractures is when your dog is chewing on items that are too large for their mouth.
Your vet can help to recommend chew toys that will be safe for your dog and their teeth. Don't hesitate to ask for advice!
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.