Dental problems in dogs can result in chronic pain and the development of other serious conditions. That's why caring for your dog's teeth plays a fundamental role in caring for their overall health and wellbeing. Today our Fort Oglethorpe vets explain some of the most common dental diseases in dogs.
Dog Teeth Problems
Just like maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine is essential to our health, keeping your dog's mouth clean plays an essential role in their overall well-being. That said, most dogs don't receive the dental health care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums healthy.
At The Animal Medical Center of Fort Oglethorpe our vets often see dogs suffering from gum disease and other dental issues. In fact, these oral health problems begin to appear in dogs as young as three years of age. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
The best way to ensure your dog maintains optimal oral health is to combine regular at-home dental care with annual professional dental exams.
Signs That Your Dog May Have Dental Health Issues
It can be challenging for pet parents 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
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Dropping food
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Problems
1. Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build-up on your pup'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 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.
2. Oral Infections
If your dog has 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 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.
3. Tooth Fractures
Most dogs love to chew! However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that 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.
If you are shopping for new chew toys for your pooch be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. As your vet for suitable recommendations, to help you find the perfect chew toy for your pup.
4. 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 pup's mouth clean.
Vets generally recommend that 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 procedure.
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.