September 14, 2017
Canine periodontitis, much like human periodontitis, is caused by a bacterial infection of the mouth. This is the unfortunate yet inevitable outcome of gingivitis (inflammation of the gingiva, caused by infection) being ignored.
A Healthy Mouth
As healthy humans, we all try to brush (and hopefully floss) daily, keeping away that sticky bacterial ridden plaque that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss. Excess bacteria can lead to bad breath, unacceptable in today’s social cultures; another reason driving humans to maintain a healthy mouth. American dentists earn an average annual salary of $145,000 for this very purpose!
Unfortunately, domestic animals don’t care how their mouths look or breath smells, and there is no social pressure among ‘peers’ to maintain these factors. They have no clue what bacteria is or what is does to them, and have never heard of ‘tooth decay’. In other words, it is their human handler’s responsibility to know about these things they simply are not capable of comprehending!
Plaque & Bacteria in Dogs
If dental plaque (the bearly visible biofilm on teeth) and teeth calculus (mineral deposits, also known as tartar) are not routinely cleaned from dog' teeth, they cause gingivitis (gum inflammation), bad breath (halitosis), periodontal disease (gum disease), and finally tooth loss and inability to chew food.
Periodontal: Around a tooth.
How to recongise the sings and symptoms in your dog's teeth?
1. Does your dog have stinky breath? No, this is not ‘normal’, and should bring up some red flags.
2. Does your pet dog has swollen gums that are not pink but dark red? Again, swollen (inflamed) gums are not normal, and should be examined.
3. Are your canine pet’s teeth stained, dark yellow or brown? Mobile or missing?
4. How’s your dog’s appetite? Does he/she no longer show interest in chew toys or once beloved bones? If nothing else, you may wish to look into ‘wet foods’, something your pet can actually eat while avoiding painful chewing.
Steps to Preventing Gum Diesease and Gingivitis
1. Brush Teeth
Did you know it was possible to brush your pet’s teeth, just like a humans? You can even find specially designed toothbrushes available at nearly any pet store! This helps prevent the accumulation of plaque, a sticky, acidic substance leading to tooth decay.
Be sure to use specially designed toothpaste for animals! Human toothpaste should not be used and can be harmful.
2. Professional Cleanings
Consider asking your veterinarian about regular dental exams and cleanings. These will both reduce bacteria and help protect against periodontitis.
3. Chew Toys
The mere mechanical act of chewing not only produces saliva which helps prevent the acclimation of plaque, but many chew toys are actually treated with preventative enzymes.
Remember, if you notice unusually bad breath (other than young ‘puppy’ breath), variances in eating habits, missing or loose teeth, or anything else unusual- consult your veterinarian!