Just like people, our dogs can suffer from the effects of gum disease and tooth decay. This is why diligent dental care for your dog's teeth is an essential element of your pup's general health. Today, our vets at Marcello Veterinary Hospital share some advice for keeping your pooch's teeth clean and their mouth healthy.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
Just like our own oral health, the health of our dogs' mouths and teeth is connected to their general health. Did you know that most dogs begin to show signs of gum disease (periodontal disease) by the time they are about three years old? This is because most dogs don't get the dental care they need. That said, the early onset of dental disease can have some serious consequences for their general physical health, longevity and well-being.
In people, the link between heart disease and periodontal disease has been discovered and studied. This also seems to hold true for our furry four-legged friends as well.
In dogs, bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the mouth, allowing periodontal disease to progress and lead to heart disease. The heart and other organs can become damaged and begin to have issues. Your pup may also experience pain caused by missing or damaged teeth and eroded gums.
To prevent this, you and your vet should be partners committed to maintaining your dog's oral health. Keeping a consistent and effective at-home oral health care routine (including dental treats to help clean your pup's teeth and control plaque and tartar buildup) and bringing them in for dental cleanings is a great way to build a solid foundation for their oral health. At , we offer annual dental cleanings and exams to preserve and monitor your pet's dental health.
Skipping this professional cleaning can leave your dog at risk for gingivitis, bad breath and periodontal disease. In severe cases, pain, tooth decay and tooth loss may become problems.
What will happen during my dog’s dental care appointment?
Our vets are here to help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease. We recommend booking an annual dental appointment for your dog. Your pet may need to come in more often if they are experiencing recurring or more severe dental issues.
When you bring your dog in to Marcello Veterinary Hospital for a dental checkup, our vets will perform a complete oral exam for your pup and look for signs of dental problems, including:
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Discoloured teeth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
If you detect symptoms of periodontal disease in your pet, such as reduced appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms be sure to contact your vet right away to schedule a dental appointment for your pet. Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Our vets assess all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and conduct additional diagnostics if required to ensure that a dental exam while sedated is safe for your pet. Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, our team will thoroughly clean and polish your pup's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We probe and X-ray the teeth, and then to help protect against future decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your pup is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
As a pet owner, you play a pivotal role in helping your pup fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy:
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
- Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.