There is no question that it is incredibly important to practice good oral healthcare for our pets in order to maintain their overall health. Gum disease poses a particular problem for dogs, who are five times more likely to develop the disease than humans. If your dog’s gums are not properly maintained, the effects can make devastating impacts on vital organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Why Dogs Develop Gum Disease
Bacteria, bacteria, bacteria! Every time your dog eats something, along with the food comes bacteria and other particles that form a sticky film over the teeth, called plaque. Though plaque is unavoidable, if it is left to build up instead of cleaned off regularly, plaque will begin to harden over time, turning into tartar.
Unlike plaque, tartar is more difficult to remove (it cannot be removed with regular brushing) and will spread throughout your pet’s teeth and gums if not dealt with immediately. Dogs have a more alkaline mouth than people, which promote more plaque formation. This is why brushing your dog’s teeth is so important, because many owners do not and that only increases the number of plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth.
What to Look For
The first symptoms of gum disease sadly are no symptoms at all. By the time pet owners do notice something is wrong with their dog’s mouth, the disease has already rapidly progressed. Their dog was likely suffering in silence from chronic pain and instinctively hiding it. What owners do end up noticing include:
- Loose or missing teeth
- Bad breath
- Bleeding or red gums
- Bumps/lumps on or around the mouth
- Problems picking up or chewing food
Gum Disease Prevention
The good news is that gum disease is highly preventable with a combination of at home dental care and regular veterinary dental care. Can you imagine what your mouth would look like if you never brushed your teeth? Our dogs’ mouths will be just the same if teeth brushing is not a part of their daily lives. Regular brushings are the best way to prevent plaque buildup.
Routine visits to us is also incredibly important. Professional teeth cleanings and examinations is essential to gum disease prevention because a trained veterinarian has a chance to look at each and every tooth to make sure they are healthy. We also use radiographs to look at the areas of the mouth not visible to the naked eye.
When was the last time you brought your pet in for a cleaning? Make an appointment today.