A dog’s oral health is a very important part of its overall health. Dogs usually do not get cavities, but food and bacteria can cause plague problems. Plague can form tartar along the gumlines, and if that is left untreated, periodontal disease can form causing loose teeth, bone loss, infections, and abscesses. The bacteria that build along the gumline can enter between the gums and the teeth if pockets are created. If this happens, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, which could even infect a dog’s liver, kidneys, and heart valves.
Regular good oral hygiene is key to preventing gum disease and thus, maintaining good oral health. A pet owner should examine the dog’s mouth and examine it for periodontal disease symptoms like bad breath (halitosis), abnormal gums (bleeding gums, swollen gums, discolored gums, or painful gums), or tartar. A dog’s teeth should regularly be brushed.
Brushing teeth can get rid of plague but not tartar, and a veterinarian is needed in order to remove tartar. A routine veterinarian examination includes taking x-rays, cleaning the teeth and gums, and flushing the dog’s mouth with an antibacterial solution.
Regular veterinarian visits are an intregral part of preventive care and identifying problems before they become severe. Also, if necessary, dogs can have procedures also available to people: root canals, crowns, braces, etc.