Problems That Can Affect Your Dog's Teeth
Just like humans, dogs' mouths need to be kept clean - it's essential to their general health and well-being. However, most dogs don't receive the dental healthcare they require to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
By the time they are three years old, our veterinarians in Norristown frequently observe dogs displaying signs of periodontal disease or other dental issues. Their long-term health could be seriously harmed by this early dental disease onset.
The best way to maintain your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
Symptoms of Dental Disease in Dogs
It's not always easy to detect early signs of dental health issues in dogs. That said, if you notice any of the following, it's time to book an appointment with your vet:
- Dropping food
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Chewing on one side
Common Dental Diseases In Dogs
1. Periodontal Disease
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition that affects your dog's teeth when there is an excessive buildup of plaque. Plaque, a thin, sticky film of bacteria, can harden into calculus or tartar, which is more challenging to remove, if it isn't routinely removed.
Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where infection can develop. If gum disease isn't treated eventually your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
2. Oral Infections
With periodontal disease, the open space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can cause a good deal of pain for your dog and can result in a tooth root abscess.
A tooth infection not only has a detrimental effect on your dog's oral health, but also on the health of their entire body. Dog heart disease and periodontal disease have been linked, just as they are in humans. This is because oral bacteria that affect other organs and harm heart function enter the bloodstream. The pain brought on by receding gums and missing or damaged teeth is a more obvious issue, but there are also these health issues.
3. Tooth Fractures
We all know how much dogs enjoy chewing! However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic, can fracture or break your pup's teeth. Tooth fractures are also more likely when your dog chews on something too large 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.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). These teeth will usually fall out by the time your dog is 6 months old. However, in some cases, some of the teeth will remain. This can result in overcrowding, which can lead to extra plaque buildup 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.