Dog teeth problems and how to avoid them

Teeth are every dog’s pride and quality assurance of a great life. In many cases owners are not thinking about that too much as they forget their importance. We also need to take care of their teeth because they are as important as hands for humans. They use them to eat, gnaw, carry items, and for cleaning and protecting themselves. 

Their main function is to get a hold of food in their mouth and to chew it. For humans it’s also for visual looks but as dogs really don’t care about it then they are crucial for their protection and attacking someone. If you have seen a dog who is protecting its territory then you will know what I mean by it.  In nowadays the attack and protection function is not that commonly used because they have become our little pets and family members who are trained to omit these traits. Of course there are exceptions where the dog doesn’t know any other way and is always protecting himself and showing his teeth to others as a warning of an upcoming attack if he comes closer. 

Dental anatomy

They are divided by location and function:

  • Incisors – dentum incisive;
  • Canines – dentum canini;
  • Premolar – dentes premolars;
  • Molar – Dentes molars

Each of them consists of a crown that is normally covered by enamel and meets the roots at an important landmark called the cementoenamel junction (CEJ). The CEJ is anatomically the neck of the tooth and is not normally visible. In the invisible part under the gum there is also a root in the middle of which is a canal.

The function of incisors is cutting, scooping, picking up objects, and grooming. Incisors are small, single-rooted teeth that commonly become mobile when affected by periodontal disease. Canines are used for holding prey, display, slashing and tearing when fighting and act as a cradle for the tongue. Loss of lower canines is serious as it weakens the rostral mandibles significantly. It also allows the tongue to fall out of the mouth. Premolars are used for holding, carrying, and breaking food into small pieces. Molars are used for grinding food into small pieces with flat occlusal tables. Molars can be affected by dental caries. This condition has a reported 7% incidence in mature dogs.

Puppies start teething at around 16 weeks of age. This means their milk teeth will begin to fall out and new adult teeth will begin to poke through. So, when this process starts don’t be surprised if they start to chew everything they see. You need to be prepared for this process with a lot of chewing toys, so your favorite shoes don’t suffer.

The total number of teeth is 42. But as for domestic animals teeth are not as important as before, in the past, they needed strong teeth to chew raw meat, but as you know now they even have better food than humans in some cases. Nowadays they can survive without any teeth.

Common teeth problems for dogs

A huge number of dogs live indoors together with their owners. Therefore there are not many objects that could help them to get rid of dental plaque in a natural way. Dogs also need to clean their teeth in order to avoid gum diseases. 

Signs of teeth problems:

  • Bad breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Increased salivation

From an oral infection to heart disease

Studies have shown that oral infections are quite common for adult dogs. The same as in humans, there is a lot of food scraps that stay in the mouth after eating and together with saliva starts to buildup a plaque. If it is not cleaned in a timely manner it will harden and will create tartar which will be a huge nest of bacteria that will stay there for life. They are targeting dog gums and in the long run, will create serious issues. It all starts with gum infection and from there it spreads further. In the end, it spreads to the tissues that are holding the teeth and they will start to fall out. The most painful thing isn’t the falling out of the teeth, but the infection itself which radically decreases the quality of a dog’s life. Afterward, the dog becomes unhappy and his character will change which will create a ripple effect for his owners.

The worst-case would be if the mentioned bacterias would enter the bloodstream because of damaged gums and travel throughout his body. They can reach the heart and infect it. This is especially dangerous to puppies and small breed dogs, which have a physically weaker body and a smaller circulatory system, therefore infection spreads much faster.

Retained baby canine tooth

A common abnormality in the canine dentition is the retention of deciduous (baby) teeth. This occurs when the permanent tooth bud does not grow immediately beneath the deciduous tooth, and therefore does not cause the roots of the deciduous tooth to be resorbed.

When our girl was little and growing up we tried to get her accustomed for letting us check her mouth/teeth, so I was able to follow the whole teeth replacement process. Her teeth fell out naturally except for one. I decided to wait for a few days hoping that it might fall out, but it did not, I pulled it out myself. It is a common thing to follow all the processes when the dog is growing up, in that way you can help out if needed.

How to take care of your dog’s teeth

No one can really imagine starting and ending their day without maintaining proper dental hygiene. Regular care for oral health saves us from a very unpleasant problems. The same goes for the dental and oral health of our four-legged friends. Pet oral hygiene does not end at the doctor’s cabinet – in order for the teeth to be beautiful and healthy they must be taken care of on a daily basis.

There is no difference between caring for your own teeth or your dog’s, if you manage to take care of them more and do it properly then it will reduce possible issues later on. The more often we brush the dog’s teeth, the less plaque and tartar will form.

We can divide dental hygiene products into several categories:

Food – dog food for tartar removal. By chewing it the teeth are cleaned automatically. But there is a difference if the dog is chewing the food then everything should be fine, but if he just swallows it then it won’t help.

Dental sticks – they help to clean the teeth also by chewing them, but they don’t substitute a proper meal and are more like a snack. It’s similar to a chewing gum it also helps to excrete more saliva that helps to separate the tartar from the teeth and split the remaining food.

Personally we are using Icelandic+ products. They have different varieties of dental products but our Frenchie loves Large Lamb Horn.

Check out more products here

Toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs – there are several kinds you can choose from, just try some and see what suits your dog the best. Remember that you can’t just jump on your dog with all this stuff immediately if he hasn’t seen anything like that before in his life. You have to do it gradually, the best way is to start doing it while he is still a puppy so he would get used to it.

Toys – they are very helpful and exciting for the dogs. Remember to buy a toy that is appropriate for your dog’s age and size.

If you have any questions then let us know,

As always stay safe and talk with you soon