Bad Teeth = Bad Health ; The Importance of Canine Dental Health

on Oct 27 in Dog News

Brushing your dog’s teeth can save his life. Poor canine dental hygiene can lead to serious health problems, and owners aren’t educated enough on them. Gum disease, caused by not brushing or poor care for teeth, leads to many troubling illnesses and diseases. If food particles remain on the teeth and are not removed it will result in plaque joining with saliva to form tartar. Plaque is basically bacteria that is left over from everyday eating, drinking etc. and is easily removed with brushing, while tartar is the next stage up and is tougher and more permanent. Tartar leads to gingivitis, and gingivitis leads to periodontal disease. This is irreversible because, the now permanent bacteria has formed pockets in-between the teeth and the gums, inviting more harmful bacteria in. This results in pain, loose teeth, abscesses, tooth loss, and/or infection.

Gum disease can possibly lead to more serious illnesses such as heart and kidney disease. The reason for affecting serious organs is because as bacterial growth continues to increase, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream. This can cause infection of the heart valves (endocarditis), liver, and kidneys. Tooth breakage is another common problem in dogs, caused by chewing on objects that are too hard. New toys, bones and aggressive chewers are things you need to watch out for. Food is also a factor when it comes to plaque build-up, hard kibbles are better for your dog’s teeth then soft wet food is. Hard kibble results in less plaque building up on the teeth, and there are even pet foods out there to help reduce plaque. As a dog gets older, so does his plaque! Many people think that older dogs are “too old” to have their teeth brushed, this is NOT true. Senior dogs are more apt to getting gum disease then a younger dog because of the wear and tear on their teeth.

Now that you are educated on the negative impacts of neglectful teeth cleaning in your canine, let’s move on to preventative measures. Most people do not brush their dogs teeth, simply because they don’t know how to even begin. The first common misconception when it comes to brushing canine teeth is that you can use regular toothpaste, DO NOT use regular toothpaste it will cause stomach upset. There is special dog toothpaste that you use for your best friend’s mouth, that have active ingredients recommended by veterinarians specifically in dogs. Do not use human fluoride toothpastes on your pets! When it comes to choosing the right toothbrush however, it gets tricky. Choose a toothbrush that meets your dog’s dental needs based on his/her severity and gum condition, size of dog, and your ability to clean the teeth. Toothbrushes that are designed for pets are smaller, softer and  shaped differently specifically for a pet, so don’t use a human toothbrush. There are also finger toothbrushes that slide over your finger, some people find these easier to use. If you’re just starting out brushing dental pads and sponges may be the best road to go down, they are easier to get used to. However, both of these methods do not have the benefit of the “back and forth” mechanical action that the pet toothbrush provides.

There are a few steps when it comes to teeth brushing sessions with you and your dog.

Step 1– Have your dog taste the toothpaste (they are flavored and dogs love the taste!) This will get him/her used to tasting it.

Step 2-Put some toothpaste on your dogs gums, to get him/her used to having something on their gums and the consistency.

Step 3-Now introduce the brush, keep it outside of your dogs mouth and have him/her lick the paste off of the brush to get used to it’s consistency as well.

Step 4-The final step is to start brushing your dogs teeth, so he/she will get used to having the toothbrush in their mouth. Start out slow, only brushing a few teeth, then increase number slowly.

After taking these four steps cautiously and patiently, you will be greatly helping out your dog’s health! The next question is, how often do you brush your dog’s teeth? Well, how often do you brush yours, would you go a day without brushing yours at all? Daily dog dental care is highly recommended to fight plaque and tartar. If you don’t have time to brush your best friend’s teeth daily, then aim for every other day. This will rid your dog’s teeth of plaque just in time before it turns permanent. The MOST important thing you can do for your dog’s dental health is to schedule regular dental cleanings for them. Your veterinarian will clean off the plaque and scrape off the tartar, while cleaning out the formed pockets inbetween the teeth. This will make a significant difference in your dog’s mouth, it is the best thing you can do! Take your dog’s teeth and gums seriously, and treat them just as you treat your own mouth. Neglected gums can lead to poor health in your pooch, so get out the brush and fight the tartar!

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