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Signs Of Diseased Dog Teeth

Just like us, our dogs attract bacteria and food particles that collect to form plaque on the teeth and around the gum line

. As they grow older you will notice their bad breath and be able to see discoloring, particularly on the molars. If this plaque remains, minerals together with the saliva work on the plaque to form tartar, which then sticks to the tooth. Soon after this the plaque mineralizes and the tartar will then irritate the gums, which then causes inflammation known as gingivitis. You will see the gums reddening and should take action to remove this.

If it is not dealt with, the calculus will build up separating the teeth from the gums. This forms pockets which more bacterial can grow in. Once this has happened there is little to be done. Tooth loss, infection, abscesses are very painful for your dog. Imagine how you would feel!

There are numerous factors that contribute to the plaque formation. Periodontal disease can be caused by your dog's diet, breed, tooth alignment, age, grooming habits, mouth environment or home care. Chewing Kibbles will not prevent tartar, though some dental chews will remove a little of the plaque. Small dogs are more likely to have the periodontal disease as their teeth are more crowded together, which results in more plaque accumulating with less space for normal cleaning. Hair licked as part of your dog's grooming also collects between the teeth and increases tartar development. Also, dogs that have their mouth's open a lot are more inclined to have tartar build-up because their oral cavity is dryer. Note also that this info applies to cat teeth cleaning too.

Generally, build-up of plaque is increased when the saliva is more acid. Control and treatment of periodontal disease is important, not only to preserve healthy gums and teeth but also to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas of your dog's body. Feeding your dog a nutritional, dry food will help reduce plaque, as will raw soup bones given as a treat.

Never give your dog cooked bones. If you have determined that your dog does not have periodontal disease it would be wise to clean his teeth yourself. Brushing with dog toothpaste is an option and requires patience and practice with regular praising. There are gels and sprays for cleaning canine teeth that are safe which can also be used if brushing proves too difficult. Gels can be put on the finger and swiped along the teeth quickly, or spray if preferred. It is recommended that your veterinarian assess the condition of your dog's teeth beforehand.

by: Steve Weber
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