Dental Disease in Dogs

Dental disease is one of the commonest routine conditions we see in our dogs.  Some dogs can go through the whole of their life without building up much plaque and tartar whilst other dogs, particularly the toy breeds will have significant tartar by the age of 2 years.  Plaque and tartar is a combination of food debris and bacteria. Bacteria live in our mouths naturally but when we eat and don’t brush our teeth, the food that remains on our teeth is converted by these bacteria into plaque.  Plaque is a hard substance that is difficult to remove without electronic scaling.  The problem with a large amount of plaque building up on the teeth is, not only does it cause your pet to have bad breath – halitosis, but the plaque usually sits along the gum line and over time the gum tissue becomes inflamed – gingivitis and then starts to erode and recede.  As the gum tissue recedes the tooth roots become exposed leading to loosening of the teeth and eventually the teeth fall out or in the majority of cases need removing under anaesthetic.

Preventing dental disease is much better for your dog than treating it.  The earlier you start dental treatment, the more likely your pet is to accept it and the less likely it is that significant plaque will have built up.  By far the best way to prevent dental disease is by brushing your pet’s teeth using a special pet tooth paste.  Our nurses can demonstrate the best way to brush your pet’s teeth and how to get your pet used to having their teeth brushed. Ideally, we should brush our pet’s teeth daily.

If you can’t brush your pet’s teeth alternative products are available which will help such as products you can add to their drinking water, special dental diets and some Kong toys which are specifically designed to “brush” your dog’s teeth whilst they play with them.

For more information, contact the surgery on 01278 451592 and make a free appointment with one of our qualified nurses.

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