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Dog Dental Care: How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth

Periodontal disease and tooth decay are as problematic for dogs as they are for people. That's why caring for your dog's teeth is an important element of caring for your dog's overall health. Today our Beacon vets share some tips on how to clean a dog's mouth and keep your pup's teeth clean and healthy. 

Is dog dental care really necessary?

Your dog's oral health, like your own, is an important part of their overall well-being. By the time they reach the age of three, dogs are often showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term health consequences for them.

In humans, studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, and our canine companions appear to be no different.

In dogs, the link between heart disease and periodontal disease is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth, causing damage to the heart and other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problems of gum disease and missing or damaged teeth, which cause pain.

Dental treats and at-home oral health care routines can go a long way toward helping your dog keep their teeth clean and control plaque and tartar buildup. Nonetheless, taking your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning is the best way to ensure that his mouth stays clean and healthy.

Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

What will happen during my dog's dental care appointment?

Our Beacon veterinarians at The Beacon Veterinary Associates recommend that you bring your dog in for a dental exam at least once a year, or more frequently if they have more severe or recurring dental problems.

When you bring your dog to The Beacon Veterinary Associates for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or
  • Broken teeth
  • Bad breath

If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as a decreased appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule a dental exam. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe, causing your pet a lot of pain and discomfort.

Our veterinarians examine all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and, if necessary, perform additional diagnostics to ensure that a dental exam, while your pet is anesthetized, is safe. We will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting after your pet has been safely sedated (just like your dentist does during your examinations).

We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while he is safely and comfortably anesthetized. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help prevent future decay and damage, followed by a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.

If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.

Should I brush my dog's teeth?

You play a critical role in helping your dog fight dental disease as a pet owner. Here are a few simple ways to help your dog's mouth stay healthy and how to brush your dog's teeth:

  • Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's as simple as brushing your teeth. If your dog resists having its teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you. 

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.

If you'd like to book a dental examination and cleaning for your dog, contact us today. Our vets at The Beacon Veterinary Associates can help to maintain or restore your pup's optimal oral health.

Welcoming New Patients, Beacon Vet

Now Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at The Beacon Veterinary Associates are now accepting new patients! Our experienced team of veterinary professionals are passionate about giving the cats and dogs of Beacon the health care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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