As a dog owner, you are interested in caring for the health of your dog in the best ways possible. You likely pay attention to their diet, give them a comfortable place to sleep and provide them with veterinary care when necessary. One part of the health of a dog that is often overlooked, however, is their dental health. When this part of your dog’s health is neglected, it can lead to a variety of problems.
One of the problems that can occur when a dog’s dental health is not looked after properly is dental calculus, which is commonly referred to as dental tartar. Most of us are familiar with the possibility for tartar in our own teeth but it can also be a problem with dogs. It is a buildup of deposits that include bacteria, organic material, mineral salts, food particles and serum. As it accumulates, it hardens and sticks to the teeth like glue.
A buildup of tartar occurs on the parts of the teeth that are visible to the eye. As you examine your dog’s teeth, you may notice that the tartar is building up along the area of the gum line. It typically looks like a brown or yellow material on the surface of the teeth. What you are not seeing, however, is that the tartar is also building up under the gum line as well, which is where many of the major problems can occur.
As a result of the buildup of dental calculus, inflammation and infection may take place in the gums. This is a condition that is commonly referred to as gingivitis. If it is not treated properly, the gum may recess and the teeth they become loose. This loosening of the teeth can lead to inflammation and it could cause the exposure of the roots of the teeth or the formation of abscesses. Most of us will recognize the symptom of bad breath, can be quite putrid. The infections can also affect other parts of the body, including the liver, heart, lungs and kidneys.
If your dog suffers from dental calculus, there are things that can be done to help treat the problem. Typically, the veterinarian will recommend a dental cleaning. This type of cleaning will take place under anesthesia. The veterinarian may also recommend the use of antibiotics and if any abscesses or damaged teeth exist, they may need to be surgically removed.
The best thing to do is to prevent a problem with dental tartar in dogs by taking care of their dental health properly. This would include brushing their teeth on a regular basis, feeding the dog foods that will help to keep their teeth clean, providing them with treats or chew toys that clean the teeth and working along with veterinarians for a more thorough dental cleaning.