A dog's oral health affects the health of their entire body. It is important for dog owners to know how to keep their pup's teeth and gums clean! Here, our Oklahoma City vets share some of the ways you can help to keep your dog's dental health in good condition.
Why is my dog's tooth health important?
Like humans, you dog's dental health contributes to their overall physical health. Periodontal disease and tooth decay is quite common in dogs of all ages because not enough owners are aware of how vigilant they should be with their pup's oral health.
Infection of the gums as a result of poor dental hygiene can bleed into the bloodstream, eventually infecting internal organs like the heart and kidneys. This is why our Oklahoma City vets are sharing important information on why owners need to maintain their dog's oral health and how to do so!
How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?
Here are some baseline tips for maintain your dog's dental health:
- Make daily brushing a part of your dog’s oral health routine. Use a finger brush or dog-specific toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris from your pup's teeth. If your dog isn't a fan of having their teeth brushed it may help to apply a small amount of canine toothpaste to the brush. These products come in a range of flavors your pooch will love.
- Use plaque prevention products recommended by your vet by applying them to you pet's teeth and gums. These will help to prevent plaque buildup from occurring between professional cleanings.
- Give them dental chews or food designed to help keep plaque buildup and tartar away. This is good as an addition to brushing, not a replacement.
Does my dog need professional teeth cleaning?
While your dog's at-home dental routine of daily brushing and the occasional dental chew is vital, seeing your vet regularly for a professional cleaning is the missing piece of the puzzle for preventing serious dental issues in dogs.
Without this annual cleaning, teeth can become covered with plaque, which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. This can also have severe consequences for your pup’s overall health, as periodontal disease may lead to heart disease (when bacteria enters the bloodstream through the mouth, it can infect other organs).
Dental care is an essential part of your pet's overall physical health and wellbeing. Schedule your pup's annual physical and dental checkup appointment today. Your dog will thank you.
What happens during a professional teeth cleaning for dogs?
Vets recommend annual dental checkups for dogs. Breeds that are more prone to dental issues (i.e., most small breeds) might be brought in bi-annually. If you're unsure, consult your vet.
During dental wellness exams, your vet will check for the following things:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Plaque or tartar buildup
- Extra teeth or baby teeth that have been retained
- Swelling, pain, or bleeding in or around the mouth
- Loose or broken teeth
These appointments are also a good place to let your vet know of any concerning behavior in your pooch, such as excessive drooling, resistance to food, bleeding of the gums, and anything else you may notice.
Your vet will determine whether or not your pet is safe for anesthesia and perform any additional required diagnostics. Once your pet is safely anesthetized, we will conduct a comprehensive oral exam and charting.
While they are safely under anesthesia, their teeth will be cleaned and polished (in addition to their gum line). The vet will probe and radiograph each tooth, then apply a fluoride treatment before using a dental sealant to fight plaque. If we find advanced periodontal disease, a custom treatment plan to help restore your pet's good oral health.