Dog Dental Care

Dog Dental Care




Dog Dental Care is an important part of everyday dog grooming.

Dog teeth brushing is as important as brushing your teeth or your childs teeth. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that by age 3, 80 percent of dogs show signs of oral disease.

Most dogs don’t get cavities, but gum disease, which causes bad breath and tooth loss. Bad teeth can trigger serious, even life threatening, health problems in your dog, including heart, kidney, liver, and joint disease. A study of health records of 59,296 dogs showed that dogs with gum disease had more heart problems. Daily cleaning will ensure your pet stays healthy.


Jan Bellow, DVM, a Diplomat of both the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the American Veterinary Dental College, recommends using the easiest method possible. So Bellow uses wipes, especially those containing the plaque-fighting chemical chlorhexidine gluconate, which destroys the bacteria that cause gum disease.

Brushing your dogs teeth with wipes takes just a few seconds. For uncooperative pets and for additional protection, there are chews, washes, and diets designed, for dog dental care. Gels that contain sodium hexameta phosphate are particularly effective.

As with other sensitive grooming tasks it is easier if you (the owner) start out with a young puppy. You can get the puppy accustomed to brushing by gently running a finger with veterinary toothpaste over her teeth, then rewarding her.

This same technique may also work on older dogs. If you do use a toothbrush instead of a wipe, brush each tooth with a gentle, circular motion and don’t apply too much pressure on the gums. You want to stimulate the gums but not damage them.

Use a toothbrush designed for dogs, as well as a veterinary toothpaste, which come in flavors, like chicken and peanut butter. Brush for as long as they will let you.



Deciduous and Adult Teeth


With rare exceptions, puppies are born without teeth. The first teeth to erupt are the incisors, at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Next are the canines and premolars. The last premolar erupts at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. As a rule, the teeth of large breeds erupt sooner than those of smaller breeds.

The average puppy has 28 deciduous (temporary or baby) teeth. These are the incisors, canines, and premolars. Puppies don’t have molars.

The deciduous teeth remain for only three to seven months. Beginning at about 3 months of age, the baby incisors are shed and replaced by adult incisors. By 5 months, a puppy should have all her adult incisors. The adult canines, premolars, and molars come in between 4 and 7 months of age, Thus, by 7 to 8 months of age, a puppy should have all her adult teeth.

Knowing this teething sequence can give you an approximate idea of the age of a puppy. The average adult dog has 42 teeth: 22 in the mandible or lower jaw, and 20 in the maxilla or upper jaw. In each jaw there are 6 incisors, 2 canines, and 8 premolars. There are 6 molars in the lower jaw and 4 in the upper jaw. The wear on the incisors is used to judge the age of the adult dog.









Definitions


gum disease
Calculus or Tartar:

Hard deposits, often stained yellow or brown, that form on teeth due to inadequate plaque control.


Gingiva:

Soft tissue surrounding the teeth


Gingivitis:

Inflamed, swollen, and reddish gum tissue that may bleed easily when touched or brushed.


Periodontitis:

Advanced gum disease in which the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets and alveolar, or supporting, bone is destroyed. Untreated, it will lead to tooth loss.


Plaque:

A film composed of food particles mixed with salvia and bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. It is a key factor in the development of dental disease.



Tips to Freshen Your Dogs Breah


No dog toothpaste on hand? Just brushing with water alone will help remove the plaque that leads to periodontal disease-the leading cause of bad breath.

Handy tools include: a fingertip brush or a dental sponge.

If brushing is still to difficult, simply wiped down the outside surfaces of the dogs teeth with a moist wash cloth everday.

For a natural freshner, give your dog raw carrots.

When choosing dental and breath treats look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance.

Look for products free of antibiotics, parabous, and organophates.

Artificial sweeteners like xylitol and saccharin are not recommended. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can be fatal. Some herbs are also dangerous. Look for herbs and supplements traditionally used to improve dental health and freshen breath, like chlorophyll, parsley, and mint. Plant oils you will see include peppermint, rosemary, and thyme which are known to inhibit the growh of bad bacteria and viruses.


Add natural dental chews and bones to your oral health program. Raw, meaty bones help break off tarter and have an abrasive action on the dog's teeth. Cooked bones can be dangerous, but raw bones are much safer and better able to pass through the intestinal tract.





Table of Contents

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When teeth are already covered with brown and yellow stained tartar and gums are bleeding or showing signs of inflammation, your dog needs a professional cleaning. But it is important to start brushing agin immediately after the dentist has scaled away the tartar and polished the teeth. That is because plaque starts to accumulate right away. Within two or three days, plaque deposits are already forming, so catching it early may delay or eliminate the need for another cleaning down the line.



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