Dental problems can really hurt your dog and cause other health problems. Today, our Tracy vets will help you learn how to find dental issues in your dog. And talk about the common problems and how to prevent or treat them.
Your Dog's Oral Health
Your dog's oral health is linked to its mouth health. Dogs eat and communicate using their mouth, teeth, and gum, so when their oral structures become damaged, or they get an infection, they can't eat or talk normally and might feel pain.
Also, the germs and infections that cause many oral health issues in dogs won't just remain confined to your dog's mouth. If not treated, these germs can spread to your dog's body and hurt organs like the liver, kidneys, and heart. This can make your dog sick and affect its health and life.
This is why taking care of your dog's teeth and going to the vet for dental checkups are really important. Regular cleaning can stop health issues or find problems early.
How to Spot Dental Issues in Dogs
Different problems have different signs, but your dog might have dental issues if you notice these behaviors or things.
Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in dogs can include:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Visible tartar
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
- Missing or losing teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Bleeding, swollen, or red gums
- Weight loss
If you see any of the above signs of dental disease in your dog, bring them to your Tracy vet as soon as possible for examinations. The sooner your dog's dental disease is diagnosed and treated, the better for your cat's long-term health.
Common Dog Dental Problems
While a wide range of health issues can impact your dog's teeth, gums, and other oral structures, there are a few particularly common conditions to watch for.
Plaque & Tartar Buildup
Plaque is a white substance made mostly of bacteria. It forms on teeth and smells worse the longer it stays in the mouth. T Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum irritation.
If teeth are not brushed, and plaque isn't removed within 1 to 2 days, it turns into tartar. Tartar is a yellow or brown-colored substance your veterinarian calls calculus. Tartar remains attached to the surfaces of the teeth and cannot be removed without being scraped off with a dental scaler or another hard object.
Tartar makes tooth decay and gum irritation worse. Plaque and tartar leave your dog at high risk for tooth loss and gum disease. Sings include discolored deposits on teeth, a red, swollen gum line (referred to as gingivitis), and bad breath. As dental problems get worse, gums may bleed more, and breath may smell worse.
When plaque and tartar stay in the mouth, bacteria go below the gum line, harming the gum and bone that hold teeth. This starts with gingivitis, and the disease gets worse, causing soft tissue and bone loss around teeth. Pockets form around tooth roots.
This allows bacteria, debris, and food to accumulate here and dangerous infections to develop. Over time, the teeth loosen and start to fall out.
If gum disease happens, bacteria can enter the space around tooth roots, causing infection and a tooth abscess.
Pus then develops in the bacteria-laden pocket around the tooth to fight the infection. Left untreated, the abscess may become so large that it leads to swelling in the face and anatomical deformity.
Mouth infections usually result from gum disease but can also happen due to mouth injuries like chewing hard or sharp things.
Dogs that are powerful chewers can fracture their teeth, chewing on very hard plastic, antlers, or bones. Most vets recommend against allowing your dog to chew on anything harder than you would want to bang hard on your knee.
The size of chews can also factor into the occurrence of tooth fractures - a chew that's too large for a dog's mouth may make the tooth and chew line up and break the outside of a tooth (known as a slab fracture).
Your veterinarian may recommend picking chews that are small enough to hold in the mouth without accidentally swallowing. However, these are not so large that your dog will need to have a fully open mouth to chew on them safely.
Preventing Dental Issues in Dogs
Ensure your dog's dental health by regularly nursing their teeth and leaving their mouth. This simpler routine significantly improves the likelihood of healthier teeth and gums for your dog. as it prevents plaque from causing damage or infections.
To keep your dog's teeth in great condition and their breath fresh, schedule your pet for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Dental appointments at Paws and Claws Veterinary Hospital are similar to taking your dog for an appointment at the veterinary dog dentist.
To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should start cleaning your dog's teeth and gums when they are still a puppy and will be able to adapt to the process quickly. You may also consider adding dog dental chews to their routine.
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