Is dog dental care really necessary?
Your dog's oral health, like your own, is an important part of their overall well-being. By the time they reach the age of three, dogs are often showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term health consequences for them.
In humans, studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, and our canine companions appear to be no different.
In dogs, the link between heart disease and periodontal disease is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth, causing damage to the heart and other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problems of gum disease and missing or damaged teeth, which cause pain.
Dental treats and at-home oral health care routines can go a long way toward helping your dog keep their teeth clean and control plaque and tartar buildup. Nonetheless, taking your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning is the best way to ensure that his mouth stays clean and healthy.
Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What will happen during my dog's dental care appointment?
Our Smyrna vets at Cumberland Animal Clinic recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once a year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems, to help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease.
When you bring your dog to Cumberland Animal Clinic for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or
- Broken teeth
- Bad breath
If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as a decreased appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule a dental exam. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe, causing your pet a lot of pain and discomfort.
Our veterinarians examine all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and, if necessary, perform additional diagnostics to ensure that a dental exam, while your pet is anesthetized, is safe. We will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting after your pet has been safely sedated (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while he is safely and comfortably anesthetized. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help prevent future decay and damage, followed by a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
As a pet owner, you play an essential role in helping your dog fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways on how to clean your dog's teeth:
- Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. It's as straightforward as brushing your teeth. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste with flavors that your dog will love. These unique toothpaste can transform a chore into a pleasure.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
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.