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Why is Dental Health Important?

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By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | May 21, 2023
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Proper dental care can improve a dog’s overall health and well-being. When a dog’s teeth are not cleaned regularly, bacteria can accumulate in the mouth, leading to bad breath, infections, and even spreading bacteria throughout the body. This can increase the risk of other health problems, including kidney, liver, and heart infections.

Dental health is important for dogs for several reasons. First and foremost, proper dental care can prevent the development of periodontal disease, a common and serious dental condition affecting many dogs. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to gum inflammation, infection, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease can lead to more serious health problems, such as heart disease, if left untreated.

Why is Dental Care Very Important for Pets?

Proper dental care will help keep your pet’s dental health problems at bay, such as periodontal disease caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Plaque is a film formed by these bacteria on the teeth. As the bacteria die, the calcium in your pet’s saliva can calcify them. Tartar is a calcified plaque that can eventually lead to gingivitis, leading to an infection in the tooth root. The tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed in the late stages of periodontal disease, and the socket that holds the tooth in place erodes, causing the tooth to become loose.

Broken teeth are another common dental issue. Chewing on hard toys and treats, such as antlers and bones, can cause your dog or cat’s teeth to break. A broken tooth can expose the tooth’s nerve, which can be extremely painful for your pet. Furthermore, the exposed nerve can become infected, causing your pet even more problems. At this point, the tooth must be extracted.

What is Dental Disease? 

Dental disease affects the teeth, gums, and supporting and surrounding structures of a dog’s teeth. Plaque buildup on the teeth is the first step. Bacteria and food particles are present in this plaque.

Tartar forms when plaque on the teeth hardens. Tartar is visible above the gum line, and your veterinarian can remove it relatively easily during a professional dental cleaning.

However, appearances can be deceiving. A set of pearly whites does not always indicate that your dog’s mouth is healthy. The real issue is tartar that has penetrated below the gumline. Consider what could happen to your dog’s mouth if proper dental care is not provided. The short answer is canine dental disease.

Tartar below the gumline causes inflammation and infection, as well as causing damage to the structures that support the teeth. When the dental disease reaches this stage, dogs can suffer severe dental problems and pain.

Dental disease in dogs manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Missing teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Breath that stinks
  • Mouth pain and bleeding
  • Refusal or inability to consume food and beverages
  • Drooling

Factors Why Dental Care is Important

You certainly want your dog to have a healthy mouth as a pet parent. Here are five reasons why good dental care for dogs is so vital to their overall health:

Prevent Teeth from Falling Out 

The structures that support a dog’s teeth become damaged or infected, causing the teeth to loosen and fall out. Good dental care for dogs will keep those tooth-supporting structures healthy and the teeth in place.

Avoids Bad Breath or Halitosis

If smelling your dog’s Breath causes your nose hairs to curl, it’s time for dental care. Bad BreathBreath will not be an issue if your dog has a healthy mouth and teeth.

Preventing Oral Pain

Dental disease can be excruciatingly painful for dogs, especially in severe cases. Maintaining your dog’s teeth and gums will help prevent oral pain.

Preventing Serious Organ Damage 

Bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys, and liver, causing organ damage. Bacteremia, or the spread of bacteria, can harm organs and make dogs sick. Bacteremia and subsequent organ damage can be avoided with good oral health.

Preventing Worsening Dental Issues

Because so many dogs have dental disease by age three, preventing it from developing in the first place can be difficult. Good dog dental care, conversely, can keep dental disease from progressing and causing problems throughout the body.

Dogs are Excellent at Hiding Dental Pain

You may only realize your dog has a severe dental problem once it is too late. Many dogs are adept at masking their discomfort.

Regular checkups for your dog will confirm that they have a healthy mouth. If there’s a problem, you can catch it early on.

Brushing Now Will Save You Money Later

Detecting dental health issues early will help you avoid major problems. A vet, for example, may notice plaque forming against your dog’s teeth. They can remove plaque before it hardens into tartar, preventing bacteria from spreading.

As a result, you’re also preventing future organ damage, which could save you money on a future procedure.

In other words, focusing on your dog’s dental care now will save you money and give you peace of mind in the long run.

Factors Associated with Dental Disease

Age can significantly impact the development and progression of dental disease in dogs. As dogs age, they become more susceptible to dental problems due to a combination of factors such as a lifetime of wear and tear on their teeth, weakened immune systems, and decreased ability to tolerate dental procedures.

  • Age: Dental disease is more common in older pets, but symptoms can appear as young as three.
  • Breed: Persians, other flat-faced cats, and smaller dog breeds are likelier to have overcrowded or misaligned teeth, making them more prone to disease.
  • Food/Diet: Because certain foods can increase your cat’s risk of dental disease, consult your veterinarian for nutritional advice.

What are the Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets?

Even if your pet isn’t showing obvious signs of oral health problems, it’s worth asking our veterinarians during a routine health exam to help prevent future problems.

Symptoms of oral health issues include:

  • Bad Breath
  • On the tooth surface, there is a yellow or brown crust.
  • Gum bleeding
  • Alteration in chewing habits
  • tooth decay
  • Drooling

How to Prevent Dental Disease? 

The most common oral disease in pets is prevented by routine removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on dirty teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy in between dental cleanings. It may reduce or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleanings by your veterinarian. Brushing daily is ideal, but it is only sometimes possible, and brushing several times weekly can be effective. Most dogs tolerate brushing, but cats can be more resistant; patience and training are essential.

Numerous pet products on the market claim to improve dental health, but not all are effective. Discuss any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet with your veterinarian, or seek their advice.