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The Importance of Dental Health in Dogs

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When caring for your furry companion, their dental health is essential to ensuring they live a long, happy life. Like us, dogs’ oral well-being impacts their overall health and wellness. Unfortunately between 80 and 89 percent of dogs over three years old suffer from periodontal disease.

Understanding the importance of dental health for your pet, including common dental issues and preventative measures, such as feeding them nutrient-rich dry dog food, can lead to a longer and healthier life for your canine pet.

Anatomy of a Dog’s Mouth

Your pup’s mouth is made up of several different types of teeth that have a unique function, such as gripping, tearing, shearing, and grinding food. Basic knowledge of your dog’s oral cavity can help you provide better dental care. Your dog has the following teeth:

Incisors: These 12 small, flat-fronted teeth are located at the front of the mouth. Dogs use them for nibbling and grooming.

Canines: Also known as fangs are the sharp, pointed teeth found beside the incisors. They rip and tear meat and assist in grasping objects.

Premolars: Positioned behind the canines, premolars have pointed and flat surfaces. These 16 teeth are essential for shearing and cutting food into manageable pieces.

Molars: Located at the back of the mouth, your dog should have 10 molars which are larger, flatter teeth responsible for grinding down food before swallowing.

Saliva also plays an integral part in your dog’s oral health. This fluid contains the enzymes amylase and lipase, which kickstart the initial digestion process as soon as your dog begins chewing their food. Lysozyme helps moisten food, making it easier for your pup to swallow, and washes away food particles and bacteria, reducing plaque buildup and contributing to healthier teeth and gums.

Common Dental Issues in Dogs

Despite the strength and durability of a dog’s dental structure, they are not immune to oral health issues. Many of these problems, if left unattended, can lead to more severe conditions and impact your pet’s health and happiness. Common dental problems that can affect dogs include:

Dental plaque, tartar, and gingivitis: Dental plaque is a tacky, colorless film of sugars and bacteria that constantly forms on a dog’s teeth. Over time, plaque can harden into tartar, a yellow or brown mineral deposit on the teeth, leading to inflammation and bleeding of the gums, a condition known as gingivitis.

This is usually the first stage of dental disease and, if not treated, can advance into periodontitis, causing pain and potential tooth loss.

Dental infections: Dental infections, or tooth abscesses, can occur when bacteria infiltrate the dental pulp, the innermost part of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. These infections can lead to severe pain, swelling, reduced appetite, and fever. In extreme cases, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body, posing a health risk.

Broken teeth: Broken teeth are common in dogs, often resulting from chewing on hard objects like bones or stones. A fractured tooth is painful and can expose the sensitive dental pulp, making the tooth prone to infection.

Malocclusion: Malocclusion refers to the misalignment of teeth and/or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches. This condition can be inherited or develop due to lost or broken teeth, leading to problems with chewing, oral injuries, or wear and tear on the teeth.

Nutrition and Dental Health

A well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining your dog’s dental health. Certain foods and additives actively help control plaque and tartar, leading to healthier gums and teeth.

Dry foods like kibble and RawMix dog food can be particularly beneficial. The crunchy texture of these foods can provide a natural abrasive effect on the dog’s teeth, helping remove plaque. They also stimulate the gums, promoting overall oral health.

Freeze-dried dog food can also contribute to dental health, as rehydration softens the food, reducing the chance of oral injuries. High-quality foods contain nutrient-rich ingredients like grass-fed beef and non-GMO fruits and vegetables that help maintain oral health.

Specialty dog supplements can support your dog’s oral health by improving their digestion and immune system. For example, Immune Supplement Chews containing turmeric and reishi mushrooms can boost your dog’s immune system, leading to less dental inflammation. Calming supplements for dogs can help your pup avoid anxious behaviors like aggressive or destructive chewing that can cause broken or damaged teeth.

Diet alone cannot prevent gum disease and other dental issues. Regular vet check-ups, professional dental cleanings, and a good oral hygiene routine at home are crucial for your dog’s dental health. However, a balanced diet that includes the right types of food can go a long way toward supporting a healthy mouth for your dog.

How Dog Treats Help with Dental Health

Many treats are designed with a crunchy or chewy texture. When dogs chew on these treats, it helps to remove plaque and tartar from their teeth mechanically. The abrasive action of the treat against their teeth can scrub away the plaque.

Look for teats with natural ingredients like pumpkin, which is fiber-rich and promotes good digestion. Good digestive health contributes to overall oral health. Avoid treats with artificial preservatives, colors and flavors.

While dog treats can help with dental health, they should not be a substitute for regular dental care.

How to Maintain Your Canine’s Oral Health

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy involves more than just dealing with bad breath. It’s about establishing consistent routines and making informed choices to ensure your pet’s long and happy life.

Daily brushing and oral hygiene routine: Like us, dogs benefit from daily brushing to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Start slowly and make the process positive to help your pet adapt to this routine.

Use the right dental products and chews: Choose dog toothpaste and dog-specific toothbrushes. Dental chews can also help clean your dog’s teeth and freshen their breath. Always opt for products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

Regular visits to the vet: Regular veterinary check-ups include an examination of your dog’s oral health and can catch dental disease before it becomes a severe problem. Your vet can also perform professional teeth cleaning as necessary.

Support Your Pet’s Wellbeing

The importance of dental health in dogs extends far beyond a fresh breath and a pearly white smile. It directly affects their overall health, quality of life and longevity. By incorporating practices like daily brushing, appropriate dental products, providing dental-friendly foods, and regular vet visits, you can positively impact your pet’s oral hygiene and help them live a healthier, happier life.

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Post Author

  • Hey pet lovers ! I am Deepali H passionate pet lover and writer who enjoys sharing tips, facts and information about Pets .With 3 years of experience in the pet industry, I have a wealth of knowledge to offer readers. I hope you will like my articles. Thank you !

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