Why It's Important to Take Care of Your Dog's Teeth

Cleanliness is essential for your dog's teeth to be in perfect condition, and we'll show you how you can ensure this.
Why It's Important to Take Care of Your Dog's Teeth

Last update: 25 May, 2019

Just like they are for humans, teeth are extremely important to dogs. They allow them to eat, and even to defend themselves. Because of this, we’ll explain why it’s important to take care of your dog’s teeth in this article. That way, you can prevent common diseases and illnesses in dogs.

Main dental problems in dogs

When leftover food remains in a dog’s mouth, bacteria wastes no time in causing troubling complications. Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup. It’s a gum tissue infection that can cause major damage if it penetrates the grooves in the teeth.

A dog showing its teeth.

If you see bleeding, swelling, or redness while brushing your dog’s teeth, or you smell a bad odor, he may be suffering from a dental disease.

The best way to prevent this problem is by removing dental plaque by brushing his teeth three times a week. That way you can ensure that your dog won’t get gingivitis. Gingivitis can even turn into pyorrhea if the infection destroys the connective tissue that reaches the bone.

If your pet loses pieces of bone, it’s because he has periodontitis. The impact on the animal’s health is serious. It can cause him to lose his appetite, or his ability to chew food well. In addition, it may be painful for him to pick up a toy or object with his teeth.

Your dog’s teeth: their purpose

In most cases, puppies have healthier teeth than adult dogs. However, as the years go by, their teeth deteriorate. If there isn’t adequate care, hygiene, and prevention, there can be grave consequences.

The first teeth begin to emerge when a dog is 4 to 8 weeks old. Then, another set appears between 4 and 7 months. After this, they will get their permanent teeth– 42 teeth that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.

A dog’s teeth have more functions than you might think. On one hand, they allow dogs to cut, tear, and crush food (using their incisors, premolars, and molars). On the other hand, they help dogs defend themselves when necessary, or even to defend you from danger.

However, that’s not all, because denture also plays a recreational role. For example, they might catch a Frisbee in the air while playing in the park, or tug on a ball with all their strength. Teeth also influence a dog’s bark. You might notice that he barks or vocalizes differently if he is missing some teeth.

How to care for your dog’s teeth

Taking care of your dog's teeth.

Cleanliness is essential in order for your dog’s teeth to be in perfect condition. They usually don’t get cavities as often as people do, and scientists believe that canine mouths are more hygienic than human mouths. However, it’s still very important to prevent bad breath, plaque buildup, tartar, or yellow incisors.

Brushing is essential, although many owners forgo this practice for fear of biting. It’s true that he won’t like it at first, but if you help your dog get used to it from a young age, it’ll be a pleasant experience for both him and you.

Choose a special toothpaste for dogs (sold at veterinary offices). Then choose a time when your dog is tired, such as after a walk in the park or an hour of games and exercise. That way, he’ll be calmer, and you can do it quicker. Remember that brushing should be brief, and it’s OK to stop if you see he’s beginning to get irritated. 

Speak to him with a calm voice, and don’t punish him or yell at him, because he’ll associate brushing with something bad or traumatic. When you finish, reward him with a dental treat (this will aid in cleaning, especially in areas that are hard to reach with a brush), a bone, or a toy to chew on.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.