Caring for your dog's teeth is a crucial part of their overall care. This can help to prevent serious dental conditions from developing. Our vets in Ruckersville talk about the common types of teeth problems in dogs and how they can be prevented with veterinary dentistry.

What are the common dental problems that affect dogs?

How can you keep your dog's mouth and teeth clean and healthy? Use a toothbrush. Brushing helps remove food particles, plaque, and debris. Plaque is composed of bacteria and leaves a whitish substance on your teeth. This can eventually turn yellow and harden into tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar will remain on the tooth until it is scraped off with a tool like that used by a dog or cat dentist. Plaque can build up over time, causing decay and eventual tooth loss.

Gingivitis is one of the more common symptoms of dental conditions along with discolored deposits on the teeth, and increasingly bad breath. As the dental disease gets worse, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as bleeding of the gums.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is also commonly called gum disease. This can cause the eventual loss of jawbone and teeth. In the earliest stages, plaque and tartar stick to your dog's teeth and eventually make their way under the gumline. Once under the gumline, serious complications can occur.

This disease begins with gingivitis and progresses to periodontal disease as the gums and bone surrounding the tooth deteriorate. As the structures deteriorate, small pockets form, allowing food particles to become trapped. If not treated promptly, decay and tooth loss can occur.

The most common symptoms of periodontal dental disease in dogs are:

  • Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Irritability
  • Excessive drooling
  • Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
  • Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
  • 'Ropey' or bloody saliva
  • Reduced appetite
  • Problems keeping food in the mouth

These symptoms can indicate a serious health concern. If you spot any of these signs, please contact a veterinarian for dog dental care in Ruckersville right away.

Tooth Fractures

Chewing can keep your dog's teeth clean while also relieving boredom. However, if your dog begins to chew on a sharp or hard object, his teeth may be damaged. Even everyday items used by dogs, such as bones or hard plastic toys, can cause tooth fractures. Dog chew toys should be small enough that the dog does not have to fully open its mouth, but large enough that there is no risk of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.

Infections in the Teeth and Mouth

Infections are a common dental health concern in dogs, caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and in the mouth. If this buildup is not removed, it can result in an infection. This infection may enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body, including vital organs. Periodontitis is the primary cause of infections, but trauma-induced chewing on hard or sharp objects can also initiate them.

Some infections can be fatal as the bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream and cause organ disease/failure in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain.

Preventive Dental Problems With Veterinary Dentistry

Dental care routines are an easy way to manage your dog's oral health and prevent serious oral health conditions from developing.

Even small changes to your dog's diet, such as giving dental chews instead of less healthy treats, can help improve his or her oral hygiene. There are also water and food additives that can help with their breath and oral hygiene.

By brushing your dog's teeth regularly, you can help prevent a buildup of plaque that can result in dental disease. While it may not always be possible, you should try to brush your dog's teeth on a daily basis.

Be sure to bring your dog in for an oral hygiene cleaning and examination at least once every year. Some smaller breeds of dogs should go two or more times a year due to their teeth's shallow roots.

If you would like to learn more about your dog's oral health and how veterinary dentistry can help, please reach out to our team in Ruckersville.

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.

Is your pet in need of a routine dental examination or cleaning? We are here to help! Contact Ruckersville Animal Hospital for all your pet's veterinary dental needs.