Much like proper nutrition, exercise, and basic grooming, your dog’s dental care is just as important for your dog’s overall health. Poor dental hygiene can not only affect oral health in the way of pain and tooth loss, but also potentially result in other internal diseases if left unmaintained. A dog’s dental health can be easily preserved with a few simple steps that will be outlined below. To learn more about the signs of bad canine dental health, issues that may arise from poor dental hygiene, and ways to improve your dog’s dental care, please continue reading the following information.
Why is Dental Health Important?
Canine dental health is important for many reasons, some of which can lead to serious health issues if left gone too long. Dental health goes beyond simply keeping your dog’s breath fresh and their pearly whites nice and shiny. If left unmanaged, teeth will build up plaque, which then turns into tartar, or calculus, on the teeth and gum line. The accumulation of bacteria can have life-threatening consequences once it begins circulating in the bloodstream and settling into organs. As a result, what first began as a little plaque can develop into infections in the gums, tooth loss, and even organ disease. It’s vital to be aware of the signs and symptoms that may signal to poor dental health, such as the ones discussed below.
Signs of Bad Canine Dental Health
Halitosis (bad breath, aka “Doggy Breath”)
Inflamed and/or bleeding gums
Tumors in the gums
Cysts under the tongue
Problems Resulting From Poor Canine Dental Hygiene
Inadequate dental health can lead to several problems that can worsen over time. Similar to human teeth, dog’s teeth suffer from many of the same problems that people can develop. Below is a list of known teeth issues that a canine can suffer from as a result of poor to neglectful dental hygiene.
Broken teeth and roots
Kidney, liver, and/or heart disease
Abscesses or infected teeth
Cysts or tumors in the mouth
Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
Broken (fractured) jaw
Palate defects (such as cleft palate)
Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in canine, and will often appear by age 3 of your dog. Periodontal disease is a gum infection that damages the gums and can destroy the jaw bone over time by weakening the structure of the tooth sockets and jaw bones. Not only will periodontal disease affect your dog’s dental health, but it can lead to array of other health problems consisting of damage to the kidneys, liver, and heart muscles.
Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Dental Care
Improving your dog’s dental health is very easy and can be done in several different ways. For best results, we recommend using multiple methods and varying it up from time to time to ensure overall good dental health. Our recommended methods include brushing your dog’s teeth, using dental wipes, and supplying your dog with dental treats and chews. As with our own teeth, it is also recommended to go in for a professional cleaning at a veterinarian at least once per year.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
One of the best at-home methods of dental hygiene for your dog might also be one of the most difficult. Brushing your dog’s teeth can pose as a challenge, especially if your dog is not too fond of the idea. It is best to start when your dog is a puppy with a set routine that you can stick to. Similar to trimming nails, your dog will adjust to it over time. A dog’s teeth do not need brushed on a daily basis, but the more often the better. We recommend at least once per week. Brushing a dog’s teeth is done very similar to that of humans; you use a tooth brush and tooth paste, but these are specialized for canines. DO NOT use human tooth paste on your dog; human tooth paste contains chemicals that are toxic to dogs. It is recommended to use canine tooth paste, which is specially formulated for dogs and comes with yummy favors like peanut butter and chicken. A canine tooth brush is also specially designed to fit in your dog’s mouth. There are also styles that fit over your finger, similar to an infant gum toothbrush.
Dog Tooth Wipes
Dog Tooth Wipes, like our Lion Country Supply Dental Wipes, is a great solution for those dogs that won’t let you brush their teeth or as alternating method to brushing teeth. Dental wipes reduces antimicrobial activities reducing the plaque, dental calculus, and tartar build-up on the dog’s teeth. Dog teeth wipes also kill bacteria that cause bad dog breath. The best part of dental wipes is how easy they are to use, just simply left your dog’s lip and wipe over their teeth and gums.
Dog Dental Treats
One of the easiest ways to improve your dog’s dental health is dog dental treats. Your dog will think they are getting a treat, but these treats are specially designed and usually contain additives to clean their mouth, freshen their breath, and remove dental plaque. Dental treats, such as the Greenies Dental Chews and the Virbac C.E.T Chews, come in a variety of size, shapes, and flavors to ensure the best results for your dog.
Dog chews come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles but they all use the same principle of chewing to remove plaque and to clean their teeth. In nature, a dog’s only way to clean their teeth is to chew on bones and sticks, so it’s only second nature to want to chew on things.
The absolute best way to get your dog’s teeth clean is by a professional cleaning done at most veterinarian offices. Just like human teeth, no matter how well you clean them, there are always spots that are missed and can only be cleaned by a professional. A veterinarian is also trained to notice any health issues that could be present during the cleaning session. To perform a professional cleaning, the veterinarian will most often sedate your dog with general anesthesia to ensure the best results and veterinarian safety during the cleaning procedure and examination.
Everyone wants to keep their dogs as healthy as possible. With canine dental health, just a few minutes of brushing every week or even just the occasional dental treat goes a long way to maintaining oral health. The next time you comment about your dog’s bad breath, consider asking yourself, “Am I providing adequate dental care?”
Thanks for reading. What is your favorite way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy?
- Michael Cassatt, Director of Marketing
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