Dental Care

Dental Care

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Is dental disease common in dogs?

Over 85% of dogs over three years of age suffer some degree of periodontitis.
 
Do dogs get cavities like us?
 
Not often. Dogs tend to get infected gums and jaw bones which cause their teeth to loosen.
 
Why does tartar accumulate?
 
Dog’s mouths are very unhygienic and cannot be cleaned sufficiently by their tongues or hard foods. Plaque deposits on the teeth and is mineralized to form tartar. Tartar under runs the gums causing gum and socket infection (periodontitis) which ultimately causes the tooth to loosen. The infection can move to the tonsils and throat. The oral bacteria can even move into the bloodstream and lodge in the heart, liver or kidney.
 
Can periodontitis be reversed?
 
Yes, depending at what stage the mouth is at. If the dog has already developed tartar that cannot be manually scaled it will have to be removed by a veterinarian using an ultrasonic scaler whilst the dog is under anaesthetic . Unfortunately if the disease has been left too long then any loose teeth would have to be removed at that stage. Grade 1 and 2 teeth can generally be salvaged but Grade 3 or 4 teeth often require extraction.
 
             Grade 1                        Grade 2                             Grade 3                         Grade 4
 
Will my dog be able to eat without all of his teeth?
 
Your dog has 42 teeth so a large number will have to be removed for him to notice. If a large number of them are removed and he has no occlusal (opposing) teeth surfaces left to use he will simply swallow his food and it will be digested in the stomach. Dogs do not rely on chewing to breakdown their food as herbivores do. 
 
How do I prevent tartar build-up after the scale and polish?
 
Brushing teeth with a soft bristled tooth brush or finger brush and non-fluoride toothpaste is the best way to keep them clean. If that is impossible there are a number of other noninvasive methods to help keep the surfaces free of tartar.
 
Dental diets use either specially formulated textures or mineral coating to help mechanically clean the tooth surface or prevent mineralization of plaque into tartar respectively.
 
Certain chew toys are designed to gently abrade the tooth physically removing dirt. 
Chewy treats can aid in the fight against plaque.
 
Oral mouthwash works in conjunction with any of these treatments
 
What will happen if I leave the teeth as they are?
 
Apart from the fact that they will cause your dog pain and eating will be more difficult, periodontal disease can cause systemic disease such as liver, kidney and heart infections as the bacteria enter the bloodstream and spread to these particular organs. This can seriously affect the health and longevity of your dog.