While people often joke about a dog’s bad breath, this is a matter that should not be taken lightly. About eighty percent of dogs that are over three years old are affected by dental disease. And this, when not addressed, could have serious consequences.
Dog’s baby teeth
Dogs initially have 28 deciduous teeth. By the age of six months, the 42 permanent teeth would come in, replacing the baby teeth. You may see that fallen tooth on your dog’s chew toys, or you may not find them at all.
There are times when the baby teeth do not fall out, causing the permanent teeth to grow underneath it. If this happens, dental problems like gum irritation, increased tartar formation, and malocclusion arise. Usually, the retained teeth are extracted during spaying.
Dental problem indicators
Usually, bad breath indicates that your dog has dental disease. Lift your dog’s lips gently and see if there are inflamed gums, tartar, or teeth that are broken or missing. Also, observe if your dog is reluctant in playing with his toys or if his teeth are chattering when he tries to eat. It’s best to identify dental disease early on so that further damage is prevented.
Effects of dental problems to the other organs
When your dog’s gums and teeth are infected, the effect doesn’t just end in the mouth. The mass of bacteria that grows in the mouth can also cause issues to your dog’s intestinal tract, kidneys, heart, and joints. This is why dental care is highly critical.
When your dog’s dental care should start
Your puppy’s dental care should start the soonest possible time. During your dog’s vaccination appointment, ask your vet on how to care for your puppy’s gums and teeth. Vets usually have toothpaste and toothbrush for dogs and are happy to give brushing lessons.
Your vet can also help you monitor your dog’s teeth to see if there are any baby teeth retained or if your dog has a bad bite. For adult dogs or those that are aged three years old and above, set a regular dental checkup with your vet. There are also times when dental cleaning is needed.
Doing pre-anesthesia bloodwork before a dental cleaning is essential. This would tell if your dog’s blood count, liver, and kidneys are normal before administering anesthesia. Usually, dogs are given antibiotics a few days before the procedure to reduce the chances of complications. They should also fast the night before getting the anesthesia.
The process of dental cleaning is a lot like how it’s done in humans. The tartar is removed, and the teeth are checked for cavities. Any fractured, loose, or impacted teeth are extracted. The gums and palate are also checked and, lastly, the teeth are polished.
Tartar causes pits on the tooth. Polishing the teeth after tartar removal smoothens the teeth. It’s crucial to smoothen the teeth since this makes tartar formation a little more difficult compared to when the teeth are rough.