Caring for your dog's teeth is essential to their oral and overall physical health. Here, our Sharpsburg vets share some common signs and types of dog dental problems.
Dental Care for Dogs
Dogs' mouths, like humans', must be kept clean because it is critical to their overall health and well-being. However, most dogs do not receive the dental care they require to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Our veterinarians in Sharpsburg frequently see dogs with signs of gum disease (periodontal disease) or other dental problems by the age of three. This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term consequences for their health.
The best way to maintain your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
How can I tell if my dog has a dental issue?
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 Dog Dental Issues
1. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when plaque accumulates excessively on your dog's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't removed on a regular basis, it can harden into calculus or tartar, which is more difficult to remove.
Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line, which can lead to infection. If gum disease isn't treated, your dog's teeth will eventually become loose and fall out.
2. Oral Infections
With periodontal disease, bacteria can gather in the empty space around the tooth roots, causing an infection. Your dog may experience significant pain from this infection, which has the potential to lead to a tooth root abscess.
A tooth infection can have detrimental effects on your dog's general health in addition to its effects on oral health. In dogs, periodontal disease and heart disease have been linked, just as in humans. This is because bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream, harming heart function and interfering with the operation of other organs. In addition to the more obvious issue of pain from receding gums and missing or damaged teeth, there are also these health issues.
3. Tooth Fractures
Dogs love to chew, as we all know. However, as a pet owner, you should be aware that chewing on some objects, such as bones or extremely hard plastic, can result in tooth fracture or breakage in your dog. Additionally, your dog is more likely to suffer a tooth fracture if they are chewing on something 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.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
Baby teeth, also referred to as deciduous teeth, are present in every puppy. By the time your dog is 6 months old, these teeth will typically fall out. Some of the teeth may, however, stay in some situations. Due to the overcrowding caused by this, it may be more challenging to keep your dog's mouth clean and may lead to additional plaque buildup.
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.