Being a pet parent it is necessary for you to know that oral care is as essential in dogs as it is in humans. A pearly white set of teeth and no halitosis (foul smelly breath) is something that everyone wants their dogs to have. To achieve this some general oral care regime is to be followed. Unlike humans, dogs can’t brush their teeth as we do. So it is something that you will have to take care of. let’s discuss what you as a pet parent can do to take care of your dog’s oral hygiene
Step #1. BRUSHING
The first trick to make in your dog’s oral health care regime is brushing their teeth. Initially, it is very important to take baby steps and start by just rubbing his muzzle and lips. So that he gets comfortable with your hand near his mouth. Following which you can use your fingers to clean the teeth or just rub the teeth and gums. When he is not panicky and is in his/her comfort only then you can use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them regularly and keep Good DOG’S ORAL HEALTH.
A toothpaste taste is often a great idea to Consider. Because your dog’s toothpaste usually comes in turkey or chicken flavour. So it is easily acceptable. Brushing is a great way to prevent plaque buildup, especially when done within a few hours after feeding.
Step #2. Provide DENTAL / CHEW TOYS
These are usually preferred for more aggressive dogs. The chew is made of non-toxic material like rubber, polyester, wood etc. These toys usually have bristles or spikes to clean the teeth better.
Step #3. ORAL CARE FOOD
Pet food is available specifically focusing on formulations to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up. They also help freshen his breath. They are mostly available as dental sticks, which may be given as treats and usually have chicken or lamb flavour. Real raw bones is also sometimes recommended which helps to clean the plaque and prevents its deposition.
Step #4. Regular VET CHECK-UP
Twice-yearly veterinary check-up is a must and this will keep the oral hygiene to check. The vet will carefully clean the areas which are hard to reach. Areas below the gums and between the teeth will remain clean with the regular vet check-up. The tarter and plaque is thus removed giving a shiny set of teeth and good oral health. A tooth abscess may also lead to a heart valve infection. Dental cleaning by the vet is recommended at least once once a year.
Step #5. MONTHLY ORAL CHECKUP AT HOME
The pet parent must check for any abnormality present in the mouth at least once every month. The warning signs may be a puss, bleeding, unusual colour, puffy reddened gums, cracked or broken teeth. You Should report to the vet in the case of such abnormality. Accumulation of tartar or halitosis (bad odour) is some other signs to look for.
WHAT IS PLAQUE AND TARTAR?
That disgusting yellow layer that you may see while checking your dog’s mouth is tartar.
Plaque in simple terms is a slimy layer formed by the micro-organisms residing in the mouth. The micro-organisms act on the food remnants and form the slimy layer. This Slimy Layer when left unclean or untreated hardens with the help of salts in the saliva to form tartar.
WHY IS TARTAR HARMFUL?
Tartar when builds up, it acts like a dictator taking its position along the gumline and pushing the gums away. This then may lead to serious problems like periodontitis thus exposing the roots and increasing the sensitivities. This ultimately leads to pain and anorexia. In its reign, it aids in the growth of bacteria which goes into circulation and cause serious ailments. Tartar is not limited to the mouth, it loves exploring, and thus acts as a carrier for the bacteria. Which may cause serious infections in the heart, liver and kidney.
ORAL HEALTH CONCERNS:
- Periodontitis– Inflammation around the tooth that exposes the root and causes pain and discomfort.
- Halitosis– Tartar build-up is the most common cause of bad breath or halitosis.
- Gingivitis– Inflammation of the gum. It is usually reversible with regular cleaning and care.
- Dental caries– Tooth decay or cavities in the tooth caused by the breakdown of tooth enamel. Tooth decays caused by Bacterial infections.
- Cysts and Tumour– the lumps or bumps in your dog’s mouth are not harmful but still, they should be reported to the vet. If needed, it is drained or biopsy is done to test malignancy and further if malignant, they are removed.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Dental pain
- Pus in the gum line
- Bleeding gums
In case any of the above-mentioned problems are found take your dog to the vet asap. This will otherwise lead to serious oral problems and in severe cases, it may affect the vital organs too.
TREATMENT OF ORAL INFECTIONS:
The treatment process that the technician or the veterinarian would be taking up firstly, involves careful inspection of the mouth to check for symptoms and problems. In the case of tartar accumulation, proper cleaning and scaling of the teeth both above and below the gumline are done.
Polishing the teeth after scaling is necessary to make the surface smooth to prevent further accumulation of plaque. Flushing of the mouth is done to remove the dislodged tartar, bacteria, and plaque.The vet may prescribe some oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Antibiotics are also needed to prevent systemic infections because cleaning would disrupt a lot of bacteria that may get into the circulation and cause systemic infection
If the dog has a loose tooth then bone replacement and augmentation (grafting) may be used to retain that tooth. Deep-pocket cleaning and difficult tooth extractions can be done using the dental flap technique. In this technique small cuts are made in the gum to lift a section of the tissue back, this makes it easier to clean.
Dog’s mouth is the main prehensile organ and the food remnants act as a feeding ground for micro-organisms. After few hours of feeding, plaque is formed. If the plaque is not cleaned in the time it gives rise to tartar. Tartar is a total mess and ultimately leads to many problems including serious effects on the heart, kidney and liver.
So it is said prevention is better than cure. To prevent tartar build-up brushing should be done regularly. Also, visit the vet for a routine dental check-up twice yearly to strike off the presence of any abnormality. Pearly white teeth and no bad odour are some other perks that make playing with your furry friend even more fun. These little steps towards your dog’s oral health can save you big bills in the future.