Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinary surgeons today. The problem begins when plaque and tartar build up on your dog’s teeth.
Plaque harbours the bacteria which can infect gum tissue and the roots of teeth, causing disease and tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter the blood stream and may cause damage to internal organs. Recent studies have shown that certain heart, liver and kidney diseases may be associated with these bacteria.
Signs of poor oral health
- Persistent bad breath.
- Sensitivity around mouth.
- Loss of appetite.
- Difficulty eating and chewing food.
- Pawing at mouth.
- Loose or missing teeth.
- Bleeding, inflamed or receding gums.
- Tartar (creamy-brown hard material on teeth)
Caring for your dog’s teeth
The gold standard of dental care is daily brushing. Other options include a product called plaque off and dental diets. Only tooth brushing, however, can remove plaque and food debris beneath the gumline – this is where the disease causing bacteria flourish, resulting in irritation, inflammation and infection.
How to clean your dogs teeth
- Start by gently holding the mouth for short period
- Once your dog is happy with this, hold the mouth closed and gently lift the lip
- Once happy with this, rub the teeth and gums with a finger
- Start to introduce a small amount of paste on the finger
- A finger brush can then be used before progressing to a toothbrush
Start slowly, use plenty of praise and always start with the back teeth.
Diet can be a major factor in the development of plaque and tartar. Soft or sticky foods may contribute to plaque build up and subsequent periodontal disease. Therefore, dry foods, biscuits and newly formulated abrasive diets are recommended, as they can be helpful in removing plaque from above the gum-line.
There are many products available to help you look after your dog’s teeth. We can help you create a dental plan tailored to the needs of your dog.