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Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Your dog may experience considerable discomfort due to dental problems, leading to other health complications. Our vets at Babcock Ranch will guide you on identifying dental health issues in your dog, going over the most common problems, and providing tips on both prevention and treatment.

Your Dog's Oral Health

Your furry friend's oral health is crucial to their overall well-being. Your dog relies on its mouth, teeth, and gums for eating and communicating, and when these structures become damaged or diseased, it can cause pain and disrupt their normal functions.

Furthermore, bacteria and infections that cause oral health issues in dogs can spread throughout their body and harm vital organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys.

This can have severe consequences for your dog's health and lifespan. That's why regular pet and veterinary dental care are essential components of your dog's routine preventive healthcare.

Regular dental cleanings can prevent health problems or detect developing issues early for timely treatment.

How to Spot Dental Issues in Dogs

If you observe any of the following behaviors or conditions in your dog, there is a possibility that your dog is experiencing dental disease.

Although symptoms may vary depending on the condition, some of the most frequent symptoms of dental disease in dogs are:

  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Visible tartar
  • Difficulty with or slow eating
  • Pawing at their teeth or mouth
  • Missing or lose 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 Babcock Ranch 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

Several oral health issues can affect your dog, but some are more common than others and should be monitored closely. These conditions can affect their teeth, gums, and other structures in their mouth.

Plaque & Tartar Buildup

Plaque is a whitish substance made primarily of bacteria. This biofilm develops on the teeth and has a bad odor that worsens the longer it remains in the mouth. Tooth decay and gum irritation can result from plaque buildup.

If teeth are not brushed and plaque removed within about 24 to 48 hours, plaque then hardens and forms into tartar, 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.

The buildup of tartar can lead to tooth decay and increasing gum irritation. This puts your dog at a higher risk of developing gum disease and losing teeth. Some signs to look out for include stained deposits on their teeth, a swollen and red gum line (known as gingivitis), and unpleasant breath. As dental issues progress, you may notice more frequent bleeding gums and worsening breath.

Periodontal Disease

If plaque and tartar are not removed from your dog's mouth, harmful bacteria can penetrate the gum line, leading to tissue and bone erosion that can compromise the stability of their teeth. This condition, known as periodontal disease, typically begins with gingivitis. As the disease progresses, the soft tissue and bone around the teeth break down, resulting in the formation of pockets around the tooth roots and further deterioration of the teeth's support structures.

This allows bacteria, debris, and food to accumulate here and dangerous infections to develop. Over time, the teeth loosen and start to fall out.

Oral Infections

When periodontal disease occurs, bacteria can enter the gap around the tooth roots, causing an infection that can result in a tooth root abscess.

To combat the infection, pus forms in the pocket that is filled with bacteria. If left untreated, the abscess can grow to a point where it causes facial swelling and changes in the structure of the face.

Although gum disease is a common cause of oral infections, they can also occur as a result of mouth trauma caused by chewing on hard or sharp objects.

Tooth Fractures

Dogs that are powerful chewers can fracture their teeth, chewing on very hard plastic, antlers, or bones. Most vets will recommend against allowing your dog to chew on anything harder than what 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 that, breaks 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

One of the most effective ways to prevent dental issues in dogs is by regularly brushing and cleaning their teeth. This can significantly improve the health of their teeth and gums by removing plaque before it causes any damage or infection.

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 Animal Hospital at Babcock 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.

Are you concerned about your dog's dental health? Contact our vets at Animal Hospital at Babcock

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