teeth | Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital

teeth

Nasty Nashers: Check those Chompers

Stephen Curtis's picture
A dog's mouth with brown calculus on the teeth and gingivitis

Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease in pets and is largely preventable. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque, a bacteria-nurturing gunge, that sticks to the teeth (that ‘furry’ feeling on your teeth if you haven't brushed for a while) and helps destructive bacteria to proliferate in the mouth. The plaque can then become mineralised, forming tartar/calculus that allows even more bacteria to attach and grow. While visible tartar is unattractive, it is the plaque and tartar that lies under the gum line that causes the real damage.

Cliff Notes: The Whole Tooth

Matt Young's picture
Golden Retriever having his teeth brushed.

 

What you need to know about your dog and home dental care

Sniff your dog’s breath.  Go on, I dare you.

Odds on, the odor is hardly enticing.

And that’s okay, within reason. Your average, healthy, happy dog, as a rule, get their jollies chowing down on a veritable shopping list of things too unspeakably revolting to contemplate printing, including, but not limited to: refuse, dead things, cat poop, horse poop and their own poop.  Or maybe that’s just mine. 

Any way you slice it, most dog’s breath is less than minty fresh.  But there is a definite line between a regular, doggy smell, and a distinctly unpleasant bouquet that tends to go hand in hand with tooth issues.

Dental disease is far and away the most common affliction of dogs, cats and people.  But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, or should, do about it.

Unhealthy teeth and infected gums are constantly, chronically painful, and sap the joy from chewing, eating, scrapping, playing, fetching, tugging, and hanging off things with you teeth, which is roughly 80% of what gives a canine life savor.

The other 20% would probably be cuddles and pillow hogging, both of which take a serious back seat in the day-to-day dealings of even the most beloved pooch when a certain stink threshold is reached.

So we owe it to them to help them make the most of life with a blissful abandon that would be the envy of the most hardened hedonist.

ALL dogs can get dental disease, but some are more predisposed than others.  So if you’re the proud parent of anything small and fluffy with a short face and a crowded jaw, I AM TALKING TO YOU.

The shorter the face, the more jumbled together the teeth, and the higher the likelihood of scraps getting stuck and encouraging bacteria.  The more squished the nose and airways, the more chance there will be of some degree of mouth breathing, which dries up bacteria fighting saliva.

Pugs, spaniels, malteses, poodles, shih tzus, yorkies,  Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, papillions, dachshunds, and, perversely, greyhounds, are massively at risk of developing crippling dental disease.  So part of sharing your life and your heart with one is budgeting your time and your finances to keep it from getting out of hand.

So what can we do?

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