Reasons Why Dog Dental Health Is Important

Reasons why Dog Dental Health Is Important

Do you get a yearly dental check up done? If yes, you are on the right track. Yet did you know that your dog needs regular dental check up too? Regular mental health check ups can help keep your furry friend have a sparkly set of teeth and also lead a healthy and happy life. People and pets have a lot in common in terms of dental health too!

Let us first understand the dental system of dogs. An adult dog has 42 teeth in total with a split up of 20 teeth on the upper jaw and 22 teeth on the lower jaw. If you feel your dog has a lesser number of teeth, it could be owed to any broken teeth or any lost teeth. A puppy has 28 fully grown milk teeth with 14 in the upper jaw and the remaining 14 in the lower jaw. The 4 types of teeth any dog would have are just like humans – incisors, canines, premolars and molars. 

  • Incisors

    They are small teeth in the front side of the mouth. They are used to scrape any meat from bones.
  • Canine

    Long pointed teeth in the front of the mouth. They are used to tear food like meat apart. They also aid in locking any object like bone or chew toy.
  • Premolars

    Sharp edged teeth behind the canines. They help chew or shred any food eaten. Your dog may use these to chew any hard bones.  
  • Molars

    They are situated behind the molars at the extreme back of the jaw and break down hard food eaten like biscuits, kibble etc. 

An ideal doggy snout must have moist-salmon pink gums however certain dog breeds may have a combination of black-pink gums which makes identifying discoloration and other signs like lumps, bright red tissue, spots and pale gums difficult.

Did you know that your veterinarian can suggest braces for your dog?

If your pet has crooked teeth or bite alignment issues, the veterinarian will conduct a complete physical and dental examination. Dogs within the ages of 4-6 months can be diagnosed to understand the need for orthodontic treatment. A referral to a veterinary orthodontist can help you with any scepticism regarding the need for your pet. The cost of braces can be between the range of $2000-$5000 depending on the size of the dog, dental condition and the duration your furry friend needs to wear it.   

But remember that dental health does not involve only the teeth, it involves the teeth and gums primarily but other dental structures as well which enables chewing, eating etc.  

Why is Dental health important for dogs?

  1. Prevents early tooth fall

    As time goes by, our dog’s teeth are prone to degradation. They may fall out or become loose. Taking care of your furry baby’s dentures can help them have a better nutritional status and also have fun playing and chewing their toys.

  1. Eliminates bad odour

    You may have noticed your dog’s breath becoming a little nasty when your furry baby licks your face. It could be due to bacterial accumulation in the mouth. Small food particles may get stuck to the teeth and can biome plaque over time. This is also a biological process called biofilm which coats the teeth.  Plaque is generally yellowish-green in colour. Removal of plaque may require professional cleaning at the vet’s clinic.

  1. Keeps periodontal disease at bay

    Periodontal disease is the inflammation of tissues and bones that support teeth due to bacterial infection. Plaque is the root cause of most dental issues. Dental issues such as receding gums and gingivitis are one of the first signs of periodontal disease. 

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are 

  • Bad breath

  • Excessive drooling and licking

  • Swelling of face

  • Chewing difficulties

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight Loss

  • Aggression
  • Head shyness

Risk factors of Periodontal disease are

  • Smaller the breed higher the risk

  • Older the dog, higher the risk

  • Short muzzled dogs are at a higher risk due to overcrowding of teeth

  • Certain breeds such as Hounds are at a greater risk

  1. Prevents tooth pain

    Dogs are great at hiding their tooth pain. One reason could be because they are not able to understand what they go through. It can be irritable to handle toothache as they can make your pet very moody just like how we humans do feel. Some signs of dental disease may be – broken or loose teeth, falling teeth, bad breath, painful gums, avoiding eating and drinking, excessive drooling. 

  1. Helps save money for the future

    Dental health issues can become a serious problem in your furry baby’s life in the long run. Taking small and effective measures from the early stage can prevent the root cause of further dental or oral complications in future. You can also invest in pet insurance which may cover dental issues. 

  1. Prevents organ damage

    The microorganisms such as bacteria may develop in the oral cavity and may enter the bloodstream as it is swallowed. This process is called bacteremia. The kidneys, liver and heart may get damaged. Organ damage can make your dog sick.

  1. Pet obesity

    Obesity in pets can be caused due to poor chewing capacity. Chewing food well is the process called mastication. Just like us humans, if food is not chewed properly and eaten, it may cause overeating which is a cause of obesity. Obesity in dogs is comparatively a little more complicated when compared to humans as the treatment methods are subject to personalisation.  

Here is how you can keep your pet’s dental health issues at bay 

  • Use a canine toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.

Tips to brush your dog’s teeth with canine toothpaste

  1. Get your pet used to brushing from young puppyhood.

  2. Ensure brushing is a part of the daily training routine.

  3. Initiate the brushing session only when your pet has a good mood.

  4. Let your pet get used to the taste of the tooth paste and also the feel of the tooth brush.

  5. Gently brush your dog’s teeth for a few seconds.

  6. Be patient with your pet as they may take even a few months to get used to brushing.

  7. Lift the lips slightly and brush the tip of each tooth.

  8. Do not open your dog’s mouth fully as they may begin to panic.

  9. In comparison to our toothpaste, dog’s toothpaste is not meant to spit to spit out. They can swallow it comfortably. There are many interesting flavours available in the market such as mint and meat etc.

  10. You can get professional and regular cleanings done at the veterinary clinic too!

  • Add some dental powder to your dog’s meals

    Certain commercial brands may sell dental powder which can be added on top of your dog’s food. The probiotic content of the powder can improve gut health and oral health. It can freshen breath and prevent tartar build up too!

  • Use a dental water additive

    Commercial brands sell dental water additives which are odourless and tasteless. They help freshen a dog’s breath and kill any microorganisms which cause plaque. The product’s label will contain the dosage for each breed which can guide you regarding the requirement. 

  • Change your furry friend’s diet

    Your vet can guide you on the prescription dental food to prevent or if your pet already has periodontal disease. There are a few companies which are clinically proven to help in such dental conditions. However remember that unlike popular belief, dry kibble does not help with keeping up with good dental health. 

  • Include dental superfoods in the diet

  • Kelp is a dental superfood. It is a source of the bacteria, Bacillus licheniformis. This helps in improving amylase production which helps breakdown plaque and food particles on the teeth.

  • Fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries, papaya, and pomegranate contain enzymes which our pet’s body cannot produce on its own.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as krill oil can also improve oral health. 

Helping your pet have good dental health is a time consuming and elaborate process which requires dedication but is rewarding. Acclimatising your pet to dental hygiene can improve their quality of life and keep their teeth sparkling, white and clean.  

Clinical Dietitian, Simplyweight

The London Obesity & Endocrine Clinic specialises in Weight Loss and Endocrine disorders at the Specialist Weight Loss Centre in Chennai, India. We offer face to face and virtual consultations with our specialist clinical lead, Dr Rajeswaran, who has 25+ years experience in this field. We support people with Obesity related medical conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver, Infertility, Erectile Dysfunction, and Endocrine disorders like Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, PCOS, Hirsutism, Adrenal Dysfunction, Menopause, Pituitary problems and Sexual Dysfunction. Our services predominantly cover major cities in India including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and PuneWe also offer aesthetic treatments, metabolic master health checkups, bespoke weight management plans and an unique online weight loss plan for wellness and weight management. Get in touch to transform your life!

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