Forty-two Reasons for Pet Dental Care

  • Posted: August 4, 2008 
  • by Mary Ann   -  
  • Comments Off on Forty-two Reasons for Pet Dental Care

Forty-two is the number of permanent teeth an adult dog has. Those teeth are 42 great reasons to be a part of canine oral care. 

Adult dog teeth may need to last 15 years or more and the best time to start caring for them is now.  Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health issue for dogs over 2 ½ to 3 years of age – over 80% will suffer from this preventable problem.

Bacteria and proteins from saliva stick to the tooth and form plaque, constantly coating the teeth.  Plaque is soft, off white in color and can be easily wiped or brushed from the tooth surface.  Within 48 to 72 hours, calcium salts are deposited in this plaque film and the result is tartar, a hard yellow brown crust that can not be wiped or brushed off but must be carefully scraped off so as to not damage the tooth surface.

With time, these events advance under the gum line and starts a process referred to as periodontal disease.  Uncontrolled periodontal disease can cause thickening of the gums, receding gums, loss of bone from the socket of the tooth, weakening of the ligaments holding the tooth in the socket and results is bad breath, discomfort, infection and eventual loss of tooth. 

The bad breath is caused mostly by gases called volatile sulfur compounds (VSC’s) given off by bacteria and decaying gum tissue.  VSC’s themselves add to the damage process through local immune reaction and by creating a toxic environment for dental tissue.

Some obvious signs of advance canine dental disease include halitosis, discoloration caused by tartar, difficulty in chewing or swallowing, drooling, rapid jaw or tongue movement, loose teeth, loss of teeth, bleeding of gums, thickening of gums and nasal discharge.  When these signs arise, veterinary assistance is needed. 

The time to prevent all of this is before the plaque can turn to tartar and damage oral tissue.

There are many tools to aid in keeping our best friend’s mouth healthy and fresh and may include:

  • Pet toothpaste (Don’t use human paste, it foams too much and may irritate the stomach)
  • Oral gel to wipe or brush on the teeth
  • Special pet toothbrushes
  • Special hard foods to aid in plaque and light tartar removal
  • Solution to be added to the drinking water that help neutralize VSC’s
  • Dental chews
  • Dental toys

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