The health of your dog's teeth is an important part of their oral and overall wellness. In today's post, our Springfield vets discuss some common signs and types of canine dental problems.
Dental Care For Dogs
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.
Veterinarians often observe dogs developing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) or other dental issues by the time they reach around 3 years old. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
The best way to ensure your dog maintains their oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has A Dental Issue?
It's not always the easiest task to spot signs of dental issues early, but it's time to make an appointment with your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Dropping food
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Issues
1. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque buildup on your pet's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult to get rid of.
Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where infection can take hold. If gum disease isn't treated, it could even eventually lead to your dog's teeth loosening and falling 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.
Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall physical health and quality of life. As in humans, there have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs 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.
3. Tooth Fractures
We all know dogs love to chew, sometimes on the wrong things! However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that chewing on certain items, such as bones or plastic that is too hard 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.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). Usually, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age, but in some cases, some of the teeth will remain. This can cause over-crowding which can result in 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.