By Nancy Cope
Did you know that almost 80% of dogs have some sort of periodontal disease by the time they are 3?
This includes gingivitis and in very bad cases, teeth rot. If you don’t take care of your dog’s teeth you could face bad breath, moodiness from pain, and even degradation of the jaw and lack of appetite.
Also, dogs in the advanced stages of serious periodontitis face the possibility of absorbing harmful bacteria into their bloodstreams through their broken down gums. This can even result in a life-threatening infection. So obviously keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is very important!
Looking for Signs of Disease
Looking for signs that your dog’s dental health is not good is as easy as opening his mouth and looking inside. There are four stages of dental health: healthy, gingivitis, early periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
If your dog has a healthy mouth his gums will be pink with no swelling and there will be no tartar on his teeth.
Signs of gingivitis include swollen gums and tartar buildup. Gingivitis can be reversed. Early periodontitis includes gums breaking down, increased tartar buildup, and bad breath. The gums may also bleed if pressed on.
The last stage, advanced periodontitis is obvious because the gum and the tooth visually appear to be separating, leaving ligaments and nerves exposed which can be very painful. This is also the stage where bacteria can enter through the mouth and harm your dog.
What Can I do?
The most important thing you can do is brush your dog’s teeth three times a week. Use a meat flavored dog toothpaste to make the experience more pleasurable. When your dog goes in for his yearly checkup, have the vet do an oral exam and cleaning if necessary.
Taking care of your dog’s health includes all parts of him, and he’ll need his teeth in order to continue to live a productive and happy life.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.