How does dental health impact the overall health of my dog?

Dental health is often overlooked, but it's crucial for optimal health. Dental disease can lead to conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. Therefore, it can affect the whole body, not just the teeth.

Dr. Sarah Foss
Salish Veterinary Hospital

How can you care for your dog's overall teeth health?

There are numerous products that can be used at home. The best are likely enzymatic toothpaste and angled brushes. Other options include a finger brush, dental chews, and treats, water additives, or dental diets. It's also important to get your dog used to teeth brushing with something like peanut butter or liver paste before moving on to the toothpaste itself.

What are some overall signs and symptoms of dental disease in dogs?

The first significant sign that owners usually notice is their dog's bad breath, also known as halitosis. However, dental disease can occur much before bad breath becomes noticeable. Other signs include inflamed gums, tartar or plaque buildup, and bone loss due to bacteria.

What are some common dental diseases in dogs?

Periodontal disease is probably the most common. This is when bacteria eat away the bone and the teeth become loose, leading to abscesses at the level of the roots themselves. Dogs can also have oral tumors or benign masses, and some tumors in dogs can be cancerous in the mouth.

How often should dogs get their teeth checked?

Dogs' teeth are checked at their twice-yearly exams. Dog owners are encouraged to check their dog's mouth at least once a month. And if there's anything that looks unusual, it's important to let a veterinarian know.

What's a dental procedure like for a dog?

Dental procedures for dogs are similar to human dental procedures. The exact same equipment is used, including dental x-rays, tooth scalers, and polish. Once everything's cleaned up, the teeth can be assessed. If any need to be extracted, then the affected and diseased teeth will be removed.

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