Caring for your dog's teeth is an important part of their oral and overall health. In today's post, our Boynton Beach vets discuss some common signs and types of dog dental problems.
Doggy Dental Care
Keeping your dog's mouth clean is essential to their overall well-being, but most dogs don't receive the dental health care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Our Boynton Beach vets often see dogs developing signs of periodontal disease or other dental issues by the time they reach about 3 years of age. Dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health and lifestyle since they use their mouth to both eat and play.
To ensure your dog maintains good oral health is best to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
Signs That My Dog Has a Dental Issue
It isn't always easy to spot early signs of dental health issues in dogs, however, if you notice any of the following it is time to arrange an appointment with your vet:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- “Ropey” or bloody saliva
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Dropping food
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Issues
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build-up on your dog's teeth. If plaque isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called tartar which becomes more difficult to remove.
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.
With periodontal disease, the open space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can be painful for your dog and 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.
We all know dogs love to chew! However chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic can cause your pup'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 dog's mouth clean.
Your vet will often 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.