Dogs often have dental problems, which in the worst case can lead to tooth loss and permanent damage to the jawbone. You can prevent this by brushing your teeth regularly and feeding them the right food.
If you want to keep your teeth for as long as possible, you should brush them regularly and pay attention to your diet. This applies to humans, but also to dogs. Since our four-legged friends cannot reach for the toothbrush themselves, we have to do it for them. There are also special dog toothbrushes and toothpaste with beef or poultry flavor in specialist shops. This is the best way to make the procedure palatable to the puppy – adult dogs can usually only be convinced of the need for dental care with a lot of patience, if at all.
«Cleaning is best done daily, but at the latest every two days. Only then do you have the chance to remove the plaque, a mixture of uneaten food, proteins, and minerals from the saliva as well as bacteria and their breakdown products, before it becomes tartar due to the storage of salts from the saliva,” recommends Stefan Grundmann, the heads the dentistry department at the animal hospital of the University of Zurich and runs a small animal practice in Weil am Rhein, Germany.
Tartar turns yellow or brown over time and is home to countless bacteria that eventually attack the gums. Symptoms of the inflammation, which is known technically as gingivitis, are swelling, redness, bleeding gums, and a stench from the mouth.
With Dental Lining Against Plaque
If left untreated, the periodontal pockets deepen, more inflammatory cells nest and penetrate into the deeper tissue layers. The resulting so-called periodontitis destroys the connective tissue of the periodontium and then also attacks the bony tooth socket and the jawbone – a process that is as painful as it is irreparable.
Proper nutrition is also part of good dental hygiene. This applies not only, but especially to dogs that do not brush their teeth or are particularly prone to tartar. Especially with soft food, the natural mechanical self-cleaning of the teeth is completely absent. Special dental food is better, in which the pellets are pressed in such a way that they more or less remove plaque from the tooth surface during chewing due to their special consistency. Special chewing toys, chewing bones, or strips are also suitable. With the latter, however, you should make sure that the dog really chews on it, says Grundmann. “There are also four-legged friends who simply swallow them. Then they do nothing for the teeth, but put a strain on the gastrointestinal tract. »
The Vet Removes Tartar
Some dogs are more prone to periodontitis than others. There are various reasons for this. Among other things, misalignments can reduce the self-cleaning power of the teeth and increase the risk of dental disease and should therefore be corrected in young dogs if possible. Even later, the veterinarian should check the dog’s teeth at least once a year and, if necessary, remove tartar with hand instruments or with an ultrasonic scaler. This is done under general anesthesia, and then the teeth are polished so that new tartar cannot form so easily. Severely damaged or loose teeth are extracted.
Numerous dog salons now also offer teeth cleaning. However, Grundmann warns against using this service: “Dog groomers can only remove the tartar superficially. The teeth look nice afterward, but in the gum pockets and below, the periodontitis continues to cause damage unnoticed.»