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How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80 percent of dogs show oral disease by age 3, and it is the most common health problem treated in small animal health clinics today. The buildup of bacteria in your dog’s mouth may cause more than just bad breath; according to research presented at a recent conference on Companion Animal Oral Health, bacteria are also the cause of oral disease and diseases in other organs of the body like the heart, liver and kidneys.

Just like humans, dogs teeth are prone to plaque buildup, and when allowed to combine with saliva and residual food between the tooth and gum, plaque turns to tartar. If plaque and tartar are not removed routinely by your veterinarian, they may cause periodontal disease.

What to Look For

The most common signs of oral disease are:

Veterinary Care

Fortunately, veterinary dental knowledge has grown exponentially in the last few years. Dental technology has also exploded, allowing your pet virtually all of the dental care that you receive, including: dental implants, braces (to enable a comfortable bite), ultrasonic scaling controlled with microchips, root canals and bonding and brightening.

Veterinary care should include periodic dental exams, which are important in order to maintain good oral health. The frequency with which dental examinations should be performed depends on your pet’s age.

The Dental Exam

Home Care

Your dog needs preventive dental care just like you. AVDS recommends using a three-part dental care regimen to include:

There are also numerous chew products available that may be helpful. Use common sense and caution when choosing these products; (ask your veterinarian for help). It is usually best to stay with softer products.