Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Dental Health

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Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Dental Health
The single most common health problem in dogs also happens to be the most preventable

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Despite the fact that periodontal disease affects an incredible 80 percent of all dogs by three years of age, many of us neglect our dog’s dental health. But know this: the health of your dogs’ mouth directly affects their quality of life, behaviour, and even the length of their life. 

We brush our teeth twice a day because plaque can form on a tooth’s surface in as little as two hours! The same goes for our pups’ mouths. If left undisturbed, plaque grows thick with bacteria and, as it accumulates minerals from your dog’s saliva, forms tartar, which is much harder to remove and must be done by a vet. 

The next stage of dental disease is inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, which can quickly progress to early periodontitis if not treated. Periodontitis is caused by the body’s inflammatory response to oral bacteria. The entire gum becomes inflamed and swollen, which leads to pain and noticeably bad breath. The disease progresses to moderate periodontitis where infection and tartar are destroying the gums, causing them to bleed; eating becomes difficult. At this stage, with the correct treatment, the disease still may be reversible. In the final stage, advanced periodontitis, a chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, teeth, and bone. Bacteria can spread through the bloodstream throughout the body, damaging the kidneys, liver and heart. At this point, the disease is irreversible. 

Though some of the factors associated with dental problems are unavoidable, such as age and breed (flat faced and short nose breeds can suffer from overcrowded mouths), it’s up to you to do everything you can to protect your dog’s teeth. 

All it takes is a few minutes of daily home dental care to help prevent the plaque and tartar build-up that cause periodontal disease. To maintain oral hygiene, most dogs will require some professional dental work but daily brushing minimizes these expensive visits and protects your dog’s mouth between cleanings. 

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth

1. Set the Routine Choose the same time and day to brush their teeth. At the scheduled time, go to the location and call your pup. When she comes, use your forefinger and thumb to gently lift her lip to reveal her gums and reward her with a taste of pet toothpaste. 

2. Taste the Paste Once your dog is okay with Step One, wrap your finger with gauze (or use a finger toothbrush) and gently rub the toothpaste over the teeth and gums. 

3. Trust the Brush Graduate to a pet toothbrush. Put paste on the brush and let your dog lick it off. Repeat daily until they don’t hesitate at the sight of the brush. 

4. Toothbrush Time Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and start to brush the teeth and gums gently, finishing with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside of the teeth as this area is most prone to plaque and tartar. 

Remember, routine is key! With plenty of patience, consistency, and praise, your dog will soon come to accept daily truth brushing as a part of their regular daily routine. A minute or two of daily brushing will have a huge, positive impact on your dog’s overall health and happiness, and will likely save you money at the vet, too! 

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