Periodontal disease and tooth decay are just as bad for dogs as they are for humans. As a result, caring for your dog's teeth is an essential part of caring for your dog's overall health. Today, our White Settlement veterinarians share some tips for cleaning a dog's mouth and keeping your pup's teeth clean and healthy.

Is dog dental care really necessary?

Your dog's oral health, like yours, is an important component of their overall well-being. By the age of three years, dogs frequently show signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term consequences for their health.

Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease in humans, and this appears to be true for our canine companions as well.

The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, causing heart function to suffer and other organs to malfunction. These health concerns are in addition to the more visible issue of pain caused by eroded gums and missing or damaged teeth.

At-home oral health care routines combined with dental treats can help your dog keep their teeth clean and control plaque and tartar buildup. Nonetheless, taking your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning is the best way to ensure that your pup's mouth stays clean and healthy.

Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

What will happen during my dog's dental care appointment?

Our White Settlement vets at Frontier Veterinary Hospital recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once a year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems, to help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease.

When you bring your dog to Frontier Veterinary Hospital for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or
  • Broken teeth
  • Bad breath

If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as decreased appetite (which can be an indication of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule a dental appointment for your pet. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe, causing your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.

Our veterinarians evaluate all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and, if necessary, perform additional diagnostics to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your pet. We will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting after your pet has been safely sedated (just like your dentist does during your examinations).

We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while he is safely and comfortably sedated. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help protect against future decay and damage before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.

If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.

Should I brush my dog's teeth?

You, as a pet owner, play a critical role in assisting your dog in combating dental disease. Here are a few simple ways you can help keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean his teeth:

  • Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. It's as straightforward as brushing your teeth. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste in flavors that your dog will love. These unique toothpaste can turn a chore into a pleasure.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you'd like to book a dental examination and cleaning for your dog contact us today. Our vets at Frontier Veterinary Hospital can help to maintain or restore your pup's optimal oral health.