Teeth


See:
Anesthetics
Pet Dental.com
American Veterinary Dental Society
Academy of Veterinary Dentistry


"..two hallmark signs of dental disease: bad breath (halitosis) and red discoloration around the mouth caused by excessive saliva" (Sinclair, Leslie. "Checkup." Dog Fancy, Feb. 2004, 52).


"...ways to keep dogs healthy... pay attention to a commonly overlooked area: inside the mouth...

"..get used to what looks normal inside your dog's mouth and catch any problems early...

"Get her used to fingers inside her mouth. Make it a game, and always follow up with plenty of praise and a treat...

"When you hug your dog, smell her breath. Pungent odors.. can signal a health problem...

"[Feed] kibble. Dry, crunchy dog food can help remove surface tartar from the teeth...

"Press for pink. Gently press your finger on the gum line. Healthy gums restore their pink color within a few seconds. See your vet. if the gums bleed or are deep red.

"Give your dog.. special dental chews.. won't chip teeth or splinter...

Stick with canine toothpaste. The baking powder or soda in human toothpaste isn't healthy for dogs" (Moore, Arden. "Grooming Tip: Down in the Mouth." Dog Fancy, Nov. 2003, 65)>


"Any food debris left on your dog's teeth when he eats can attract bacteria. Daily brushing easily removes plaque, a soft material made up of food and bacteria. Plaque left on the teeth hardens into the brown or yellow tartar, which usually forms at the gum line and can cause the gums to separate from the teeth...

"..beware of anyone who claims they can removed hardened tartar by simply scraping the teeth with a sharp tool. Not only will this procedure damage the teeth's surfaces, it will also fail to remove the most damaging tartar, that portion beneath your dog's gum line" (Sinclair, Leslie. "Tumor Tests." Dog Fancy, Dec. 2003, 20).


"Clean teeth are also a very important part of longevity... keeping up with healthy mouth and gums can make a big difference in their quality of life" (Abbott, Vicki L. "Maltese." Breed Column. AKC Gazette, Dec. 2003, 52).


"Halitosis can be a harbinger of serious disease, most likely periodontal disease...

"Bad dog breath could also be a sign of an oral tumor, kidney disease and - in accute cases- diabetic keoacidosis...

""...dogs with any bad breath should have an oral exam by a veterinarian...

"...dental problems rank as the No. 1 disease among pets...

"In addition to expense, dental disease can cause pain, receding gums, tissue degeneration and loss of teeth and bone... Bacteria from dental infections can also migrate to other parts of the body...

"..good oral hygiene can prevent most of them. In two words: daily brushing.

"Human toothpastes can irritate dogs' intestinal tracts. Those containing fluoride can be toxic when swallowed excessively.

"If owners aren't brushing daily, their dog typically will need to have veterinary cleaning, done under anesthesia, every six months, Dr. Shope said. She advocates C.E.T. toothpaste... "I like the C.E.T. Dual Enzyme system in the toothpaste that helps kill plaque bacteria...

"A diet of dry dog food may help prevent some dental problems but wouldn't avoid them entirely. Again, daily brushing does the job -- brushing all 42 dog teeth, 20 upper, 22 lower" (Liddick, Betty. "Dog Breath Is No Joke." Your Dog, Dec. 2003, 7).


"The American Veterinary Dental Society says that more than 80 percent of dogs have some form of periodontal disease by age 3...

The four stages of periodontal disease

STAGE 1 - "Bacteria act on food particles, then build up as plaque on the teeth. Once that plaque hits the gum line, it causes tenderness and inflammation, known as gingivitis.

STAGE 2 - "The inflamed gums begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets, which trap food and bacteria.

STAGE 3 - "Teeth loosen.

STAGE 4 - "Teeth can fall out. In severe cases, bacteria from the teeth and gums get into the blood stream and infect the dog's kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Without antibiotics, this infection can lead to death.

Factors Contributing to Periodontal Disease

HEREDITY - "Small breeds such as Maltese, Miniature Schnauzers, and Yorkshire Terriers get periodontal disease more often because of their closely spaced teeth.

LACK OF DAILY BRUSHING

SOFT FOOD - "It encourages plaque buildup and doesn't provide the scrubbing action of kibble.

"If your dog has Stage 4 periodontal disease, your vet will remove affected teeth. Bone loss also occurs during this stage...

"The mouth has such a great blood supply that if you give appropriate treatment and provide proper care, it heals gorgeously..." (James, Nicole. "Get Serious About Dog Breath." Dog Fancy, Feb. 2004, 51).


"February is National Pet Dental Health Month...

Periodontal disease is currently the number-one diagnosed problem in dogs and cats over age 3...

"Owners should be educated about the three easy steps to prevent periodontal disease:

  1. "..dogs should get a dental exam.. [and] dental cleaning...

  2. "..owners should begin a home dental-care routine including appropriate nutrition and regular brushing...

  3. "..regular veterinary checkups.."

("Smile! Pet Dental Health Month Is On the Way." AKC Gazette, Jan. 2004: 14).


"Q: What, in your opinion, is a crucial factor in keeping a [geriatric] dog healthy longer?

"A: Probably the biggest factor for kidney disease is rotten mouths... Over time the kidney becomes scarred from that constant processing of tiny infections and bacteria. Probably the biggest thing that's toned down kidney disease has been improved diets and routine dental care" (Nikki Moustaki. "DF Interviews: Steve Thompson." Dog Fancy, June 2004: 49).


Colby Glass, MLIS