Common Dog Dental Issues
Bad breath is among the most typical complaints from dog owners. Even though poor breath might appear somewhat harmless, it is usually a sign of more serious dental problems in your dog's mouth. While gum disease or periodontal disease in dogs is not frequent, cavities exist. 80% of dogs have canine periodontal disease by the time they are three years old, making it one of the most prevalent and dangerous health issues.
A soft layer of germs and food particles called plaque builds up daily on the surface of a dog's teeth. Brushing's mechanical forces effortlessly remove plaque. A dog's teeth and gums will remain healthy if plaque is regularly cleaned.
If plaque is allowed to linger on the teeth's surfaces, minerals in a dog's saliva cause this plaque to harden into dental calculus or tartar permanently affixed to the teeth.
Gingivitis is a disorder that develops when tartar begins to erode into and beneath the gum tissue, causing the gums to become red, swollen, and inflamed. Plaque bacteria are continuously injected below the gum line after tartar has eroded into the gum line and caused gingivitis, which causes variable degrees of gum infection.
Below the gum line, plaque bacteria release toxic chemicals that further deteriorate tissues. A dog's immune system is frequently stimulated by these microorganisms and the inflammation and tissue damage they produce. The immune system sends in white blood cells and other inflammatory substances to combat bacterial invaders. Unfortunately, this process damages the soft and bony tissues that support the tooth, a condition known as periodontitis.
Tooth Root Abscess
Once periodontal disease has taken hold and gingivitis and periodontitis is prevalent, germs can enter the tooth roots deeply. The bacteria can gradually erode the tooth's root and its connection to the jaw, starving the root and tooth of their essential blood supply. This causes the damaged tissue to die, and once more, the immune system summons many white blood cells to the location, causing an amassing of white blood cells known as pus or an abscess. Unfortunately, osteomyelitis, a deep bone infection, is exceedingly difficult for the immune system to clear up, necessitating typically surgical intervention from a veterinarian. Large premolar teeth are the most frequently affected by tooth root abscesses, and a dog may frequently exhibit a painful, mushy swelling under the eye.
Loss of teeth
When teeth' deep attachments are lost due to advanced periodontal disease, the teeth may either fall out on their own or need to be removed because they are loose, making them painful or difficult to eat.
A bacterial infection known as periodontal disease is brought on by dental plaque. Mild tooth discoloration is frequently the first sign, but plaque builds up without routine cleaning, and the saliva's minerals cause the plaque to harden into tartar, which is firmly adhered to the teeth. Tartar is visible above the gum line for many owners, but this is not what causes periodontal disease. Bacteria become trapped and set off a vicious cycle of infection and harm to the supporting tissues around the tooth as tartar begins to dig into and under the gums.
Periodontal disease may cause extensive organ damage in addition to acute oral harm. Canine periodontal disease causes organ damage when germs from diseased tooth roots and gums enter the bloodstream (bacteremia). According to studies, dogs with severe periodontal disease have higher liver, kidney, and heart muscle damage than dogs without the condition.
What symptoms can your dog be showing for periodontal disease?
- Eating difficulties
- Gnawing at one's mouth or teeth
- Blowing of the nose
- Swollen under-eye areas
- Poor breath
- Tooth discoloration or tartar that can be seen
- Missing or loose teeth
- Bruising, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Either a decrease in appetite or weight
Maintain Your Dog's Dental Health
It's similar to caring for your teeth to taking good care of your dog. Many vets advise the following ways to keep your mouth healthy:
Under general anesthesia, annual oral exams, dental X-rays, and cleanings are performed. Your veterinarian can only examine below the gum line, where gum disease hides, with a complete oral examination and X-rays. General anesthesia is required to examine for pockets around your dog's teeth, remove calculus and tartar above and below the gum line, and remove dead tissue. Without X-rays and anesthetic, exams and cleanings are of very limited benefit.
Daily brushing your dog's teeth is an excellent approach to stop or slow the development of oral disorders. All you need to maintain your pet's mouth pain-free and healthy is some pet toothpaste (which comes in a variety of tastes that dogs love, including seafood, vanilla-mint, malt, peanut, poultry, and beef), as well as a pet toothbrush (human-sized brushes are too wide for most canine mouths).
Regular chewing. Giving your dog safe chew toys daily is another method to keep their mouths healthy. Choose tough, rubbery toys or rawhide bones that are easier to bend. (If the dog swallows a significant piece of raphide, it may create digestive issues.) Additionally, veterinarians advise against giving pets hard treats or toys, such as nylon bones, rigid rawhide, cow or pig hooves, or any form of animal bone, whether raw or cooked. Additionally, please stay away from fuzzy tennis balls because a dog's chewing on one might wear down its teeth.
High-quality food for dogs. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether a "dental diet" is appropriate for your dog's requirements. This can entail giving your dog foods laced with preservatives that prevent plaque from setting up or chewable dried foods that clean their teeth.
Examining your dog's teeth regularly.
Although you can't be expected to identify gum disease or other significant oral problems in your dog's mouth between annual cleanings by the vet, there are some things to keep an eye out for.
Look for cracked or tarnished teeth.
- In particular, look for the odor that reappears after cleaning a month or two. Inspect your dog's mouth for it.
- Look for bleeding when your dog plays with a chew toy or in the water dish.
- Examine your dog's mouth for lumps or bumps, especially if swelling is on one side but not the other.
- Be on the lookout for rising toothbrush resistance.
- Keep an eye out to see whether your pet is avoiding the food.
- When your dog eats, keep an ear out for chattering jaws.
- If you notice any of these problems when brushing your dog's teeth, you should consult your veterinarian immediately since your dog can be in discomfort and require immediate dental care.
The most crucial thing to remember is that gum disease cannot grow around healthy teeth. The greatest approaches to avoiding gum disease in pets include at-home oral hygiene practices, brushing and diet, and routine dental exams. The easiest way to remove plaque from the teeth of dogs that are not allowed to brush is to wipe them with a piece of gauze at least once every two to three days. Only the teeth's outer layer needs to be brushed or cleaned. The use of toothpaste intended for humans is not advised. For cleaning the plague from teeth, your veterinarian may suggest certain foods, games, and treats.