A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Pet: The Benefits of Dental Care
Poor dental health can lead to a variety of health problems in dogs, including tooth loss and gum disease. Like humans, our pet's teeth need regular cleaning and care. Oral health is a foundation for overall health, so you need to ensure you practice proper dental care.
It's essential to brush dogs' teeth regularly, or at least provide them with dental chews and toys to help keep their teeth and gums healthy. Unfortunately, dental care is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of our pet’s health. We don’t always associate problems or health issues with our dog’s mouth.
So, why is a healthy mouth for our pet so important? Here are some of the advantages and benefits stemming from providing good care of your dog’s teeth.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can help significantly reduce plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth and gum line. This buildup contains bacteria and particles of food, and when they harden, can cause painful inflammation and damage the structures that support the teeth.
When the plaque turns to tartar, your dog’s gums and teeth can suffer from an infection. Besides pain, your dog may experience dental disease, which can include the following:
- Broken or loose teeth
- Trouble eating or refusing to eat
- Excessive drooling
- Bad breath
If you notice these signs in your dog, it’s crucial to get your dog’s teeth looked at for disease prevention. Your dog may need medication to help combat the issue.
Tooth Loss Prevention
When the structures around your dog’s teeth become damaged from periods of no cleaning, your dog can not only break their teeth but lose them altogether. When your dog loses teeth it creates pockets within the gums, which can lead to further decay and problems.
Brushing and cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly ensures that the support around their teeth stays healthy. It keeps the gum structures strong to keep your pet’s teeth in place.
Reduces Bad Breath
If you notice that your dog’s breath smells, it’s a good indication that it needs some dental care. It could also be a sign that your dog is already suffering from dental or gum disease, so it would be helpful to have your veterinarian do an examination.
Ongoing bad breath in your furry friend might be attributed to other medical issues related to the mouth, digestive tract, or respiratory system. But, the most common cause of halitosis is due to plaque and tartar buildup.
Keep Dental and Organ Disease Away
Dogs are susceptible to dental disease as they age, so it can be challenging to prevent it from occurring. Practicing good dental care allows your dog to keep diseases of the mouth at bay, or keeps it from becoming too severe.
Bacteria in your dog’s mouth that’s in plaque can enter your pet’s bloodstream. It travels and spreads to other organs including the kidneys, liver, and heart. Damage to these vital organs can certainly make your dog very sick, and quite possibly fatal.
As always, you should contact your veterinarian if you notice or feel there’s any issue with your dog that you can’t identify. Bad oral hygiene left for too long can lead to serious health problems.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
Taking your dog to their veterinarian annually to undergo a teeth cleaning is helpful, but there are steps you can do at home for dental care. Some ways to provide your dog with a healthy mouth at home include:
- Brush your dog’s teeth - you can buy dog-safe toothpaste and non-abrasive dog brushes so you can maintain good oral health for your pet. Include learning to brush your dogs teeth at least a couple of times throughout the week.
- Dental dog treats - if you have trouble brushing or your dog avoids you, consider opting for some dental treats. These chews and treats are made specifically to target helping to prevent plaque and break up tartar on their teeth and gums.
- Dental powder - there are flavored dental powders you can buy that contain probiotics, which help to promote healthy bacteria in your dog’s mouth and kill bad bacteria. VetriScience Perio Support is a product you can easily add to your dog’s food each time it eats.
- Water additives - water additives and rinses are another great way to clean your dog’s mouth at home. You add it to your pup’s water bowl each day, and it helps to kill plaque-building bacteria and keep your dog’s breath fresh.
- Dog food - discuss with your doctor if you have issues with any of the other techniques or if your dog is more prone to oral disease. Some dog food companies make special dentally-geared food to help reduce dental problems.
As another rule of caution, you shouldn’t feed your dog human food, as this can affect mouth health and cause other digestive issues.
Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy
As always, before you use one of the at-home remedies to clean your dog’s mouth, you can always talk to your veterinarian. You may get some excellent recommendations that can make cleaning your dog’s teeth easier.
Your dog’s health isn’t limited to just mental and physical exercise. Be a responsible pet owner, and do your part to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Schedule regular cleanings, and take an active role in what you can do at home to keep your pet’s teeth strong and clean.