Prioritizing dental hygiene in dogs is important when considering health and longevity. Dental care is helpful in preserving the structural integrity of teeth and overall gum health. The result of poor dental hygiene includes Periodontitis, kidney disease and heart disease. Other consequences such as oral pain, bad breath and the loss of teeth may result. The oral health of your dog plays a large role in their overall health.
Signs of dental disease in dogs
The best way to prevent dental disease in canines, is to prevent it from occurring to begin with. Taking note of any symptoms is important to determine the possible diseases of health concerns your dog may be struggling with.
Signs of dental disease in dogs may include:
- Tartar build up
- Broken or missing teeth
- Receding, swollen or bleeding gums
- Discolored teeth
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling or bloody nasal discharge
If you suspect your dog has a dental disease, refer to the article below for more information:
Related Article: Dog Teeth: Common Dental Problems
5 ways To Keep Canine Teeth Clean At Home
Since prevention is key, it is effective to reduce the chances of dental disease by cleaning teeth on a regular basis. However, it is important to note that once dental disease occurs, it is difficult to reverse and requires professional attention.
Once tartar forms onto teeth, a professional cleaning is the effective way to reduce the amount of tartar deposit.
1.) Brush your dog’s teeth with canine toothpaste:
Regular brushing teeth is the foundation of oral health and hygiene in dogs and humans. Although it is ideal to brush your dog’s teeth daily, brushing on a weekly basis is sufficeable. Most dogs will learn how to tolerate teeth brushing especially if the toothpaste is tasty and pleasant. Using a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristle such as —-(Insert product) paired with a pet friendly toothpaste —-(insert product) will help your dog look forward to teeth cleaning. Brushing teeth on a regular basis helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
2.) Give your dog dental chews/treats
Dental chews for dogs are effective in breaking up tartar buildup. The act of chewing helps manually loosen and reduce strength of tartar deposits on teeth. Dental chews come in different shapes and sizes with different crevices depending on the size of your dog. The nooks of the treat helps get between the teeth and encourage blood flow to the gums. Not only does dental chews serve as a tasty treat, they also leave teeth clean.
3.) Use dental spray
Dental sprays may be used alone, or in combination with other treatments for optimal dental health. You may use it as a refresher in between brushing if done on a weekly basis. Dental sprays kill plaque causing bacteria and reduce bad breath. Research shows that dental sprays may be effective in reducing long term tartar buildup. Most sprays are simple to use, all you need to do is spritz the teeth and gums. If you are low on time and want a minimal effort option, consider spraying onto your dogs favorite chew toy. Dental sprays work best when the dog does not eat for at least an hour before and after spraying.
4.) Put water additives in bowl
Water additives should not be used as a replacement for regular brushing, however it may be useful as an addition. The enzymatic content of water additives alter the pH of the dogs saliva, resulting in the reduction of plaque and tartar buildup. Most water additives come as a flavorless liquid that is easy to dispense into the water bowl, while others come in gel form.
5.) Dental chew toys
When it comes to keeping your dog entertained, toys will be a great option. There are special toys that are great for encouraging dental health in your dog. Chewing is the natural tendency in dogs that allow teeth to be cleaned and plaque to be scraped off. However, the wrong toys may cause more harm than good. Make sure the chew toy is appropriate for the size of your dog, and stay away from hard plastics that may cause teeth to crack especially in senior dogs.
What a veterinarian looks for in a dental exam
During an oral or dental exam, the veterinarian is going to look for physical signs of dental disease. Some of these physical signs may include:
- Swollen gums (Gingivitis)
- Facial swelling
- Tartar buildup
- Oral abscess
Canine Dental FAQ
Can human toothpaste be used?
No. Human toothpaste contains harmful ingredients such a xylitol which is toxic to dogs and should not be swallowed. Most human toothpastes also contain high sodium levels, which is unhealthy to dogs. There are many different flavors of toothpaste that will be enjoyable for your dog and is safe for ingestion.
What is the difference between plaque and tartar buildup?
Plaque is bacteria buildup on teeth that commonly forms throughout the day and is a whitish color. This is what you brush off of your teeth after meals. If plaque is not effectively removed, it will harden and become tartar which is much harder to remove and treat. In fact, once tartar forms it can only be removed by a professional.
What does a professional cleaning entail?
Prior to cleaning, the veterinarian will do a thorough examination of the mouth, teeth and gums. If there is reason for concern such as tartar build up or receding gums, the vet will begin cleaning. Once tartar forms, only a professional may remove it under general anesthesia. Manual or ultrasonic scalers are used to scrape off plaque and tartar from the teeth. After scraping, the teeth are polished to prevent tartar build up in the future.
How often should I get my dogs teeth seen by a vet?
A yearly visit to the veterinarian is recommended for annual shots, and teeth cleaning. This helps keep your dog in a state of optimal health and longevity. Prevention is key when addressing health especially since the veterinarian may be able to catch diseases, ailments or concerns early on.
What is a dental diet?
Dental diets are specifically formulated to support oral health. Reduced protein and increased calcium helps prevent and limits the mineralization of plaque and tartar. In addition, the kibble which is tailored to the size of your dog, is texturized in a way that creates an abrasive effect that helps reduce tartar and plaque.