As important as oral health is for humans, it is equally important for dogs. Like us, our furry companions are susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Our vets in Lafayette discuss the significance of dog dental health, and we offer tips on cleaning your pup's teeth at home.
Does my dog need dental care?
Dental health is essential for your dog's overall health and well-being. Dogs can display symptoms of periodontal disease as early as three years old, which can negatively impact their long-term health.
Studies show a link between heart disease and periodontal disease in both dogs and humans.
The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream from the mouth, causing damage to heart function and problems with other organs. These health issues develop on top of the more visible problem of pain caused by eroded gums and damaged or missing teeth.
To maintain your dog's oral health, implement at-home-oral health care routines and provide dental treats to control tartar and plaque buildup. However, taking your pup to the vet once a year for a hygiene cleaning and dental exam. It is the best way to ensure good oral health. 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 happens at my dog's dental care appointments?
To prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Lafayette vets suggest taking your pup to their primary care veterinarian for a dental appointment at least once a year or more often if they are suffering from severe or recurring dental conditions.
When you bring your dog to St. Francis Veterinary Hospital for a dental check-up, our vets will conduct a full oral examination for your pup and look for signs of dental problems, 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 your dog is showing signs of periodontal disease, such as loss of appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), drooling, abnormal chewing, bad breath, dropping food from the mouth, or any other systems, it's important to call your vet right away and schedule a dental appointment. Neglecting oral health issues can lead to severe problems and cause your pet much pain and discomfort.
Our teams of veterinarians carefully asses every dog to ensure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. We conduct additional diagnostics if necessary to guarantee that a dental exam performed while your pet is under anesthesia is completely safe. Once your furry friend is sedated, we conduct a thorough tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, similar to what your own dentist does during your check-ups.
During the procedure, we can thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We also probe and X-ray their teeth and apply a fluoride treatment and dental sealant to prevent future decay and plaque buildup.
If your dog is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work closely with you to establish a treatment plan to help restore their mouth to a healthy, pain-free state.
How do I brush my dog's teeth?
As a pet parent, you have an essential role in helping your dog fight dental diseases. Below are a few easy ways that you can help to clean your dog's teeth and keep their mouth healthy:
- Use a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to brush your pet's teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's as simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists cleaning their teeth, try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pup will find irresistible. These special toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
- 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.