Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) can be just as much of an issue for dogs as for their owners. Because of this, cleaning your canine companion's teeth is an important part of their overall health. Here, our vets in the Pacific Northwest explain how and why to keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean.
Why should I have my dog's teeth cleaned?
While it may not be something you has considered, your pup's oral hygiene is a key element to their overall well being. Usually by the age of 3 most dogs begin showing some signs of periodontal disease. This can have serious consequences for their long term health!
Periodontal disease has been shown to lead to heart disease and damage other organs too. This is all on top of the pain caused by gums eroding away!
Regular oral health routines alongside dental treats can vastly improve your dog's oral health: keeping their teeth clean and free of plaque or tartar. However, the best way to keep your canine companion's mouth healthy and clean is through annual visits to your vet for dental checkups.
What happens during a professional teeth cleaning?
To assist in preventing your dog form developing periodontal disease and tooth decay, our the Pacific Northwest vets advise that you bring your dog to a dental check up appointment at least once a year. If your pup is experiencing dental problems, the frequency should increase too.
While there, your vet will perform a full checkup on your dog and keep an eye out for symptoms of various dental issues such as:
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
If you spot symptoms of periodontal disease, tooth decay, or other oral health issues in your dog, contact your vet as soon as possible. These can include anything from abnormal amount of drooling, to bad breath, to significant changes in your pet's self-grooming habits.
Our veterinarians will ensure that your dog is healthy enough to receive anesthesia and conduct other tests as is required by your pup's unique needs. Once your pet is sfaely under the effects of the anesthetic, we will conduct a tooth-by-tooth oral exam with charting (like a human dentist does with your teeth!).
We will clean and polish their teeth both above and below the gum line. We also x-ray the teeth before giving each one a fluoride treatment to help protect them against tooth decay and apply a dental sealant to stop plaque from adhering to your dog's teeth.
If your dog is suffering from an oral health issues, whether that be tooth decay or periodontal disease, we will also develop a treatment plan to go over with you once the dental examination is over.
How can I help to keep my dog's teeth clean?
Dog owners play a key role in fighting their pet's dental health issues. Here is a list of a few helpful ways you can encourage good oral health in your dog:
- Use a child's toothbrush, or a brush given to you by your vet, to brush your dog's teeth daily
- Ask your vet about what plaque prevention products they might recommend. You can apply these products to your dog's teeth and gums to protect their mouth from plaque buildup.
- Find dental chews, chew toys, or food designed to help clean your dog's mouth and promote good oral health.
Dental care is a key part of your pet's overall health. Make sure you contact your vet to book your annual appointment.