I’d hope that you’ve got a solid routine for taking care of your teeth but I’m betting that you don’t have the same for your dog. People often underestimate that amount of care that a dog’s teeth need and they think that it’s fine to just leave them to it. The thing is, dogs teeth need as much looking after as any other animals do, especially as they get older. If you don’t give them the right amount of attention, your dog can end up with some serious health problems that go beyond a bit of tooth decay.

Dogs don’t often show pain unless it’s very serious so a lot of the time these problems can be hard to spot. Look out for any changes in their eating habits or maybe some swelling around the mouth. Bad breath is also a good indicator that your dog may have a problem but you can often get around this by using dental treats from somewhere like VetIQ but if the problems persist, there’s probably something more serious going on. These are just some of the ways that bad oral hygiene can affect your dog.

Dental Problems in Dogs

Loose Teeth

If you’ve got a puppy you don’t need to worry about loose teeth. Their first set will fall out and be replaced by the adult ones just like in humans. However, if they start to get loose teeth when they’re older, something is definitely wrong. A puppy should have all of its adult teeth by around 8 months, if teeth are still loose or falling out later than that, take them to the vets right away. It could be caused by some kind of serious trauma to the mouth area that has dislodged a lot of your dog’s teeth, but it could also be a symptom of an illness of some kind. The vet will X-ray the mouth to make sure that there’s nothing going on. In most cases, there isn’t much that can be done apart from just removing the tooth.

Misaligned Teeth Or Jaw

This is a problem that can range quite a bit in its seriousness. If your dog has a couple of crooked teeth in there somewhere it probably won’t cause them that many issues and sometimes it can be left. It’s nothing more than a cosmetic issue which dogs aren’t bothered about. However, if a lot of the teeth or the jaw itself are misaligned, it could make it very difficult for your dog to eat and drink properly. If teeth are rubbing against the gums it can also be quite painful for them. A lot of the time there isn’t an outside factor that causes the teeth to get crooked, it’s usually just a hereditary problem. In that case, the vet will probably ask you to get the dog spayed or neutered so the issue isn’t passed on to another generation. Look out for any odd chewing or signs of pain when they’re eating, or a noticeable overbite on their jaw.

Bleeding Gums

If you saw blood when you were brushing your teeth you’d be pretty alarmed and you should have the same reaction if your dog’s gums are bleeding. The way to spot it is to keep an eye on their toys when they chew on them, they’ll leave small spots of blood on there. The cause is gingivitis, exactly the same as in humans. If their teeth aren’t cleaned properly then you’ll get a buildup of plaque on their teeth. Once this moves onto their gums it’ll start causing big problems. You can tell if your dog is suffering with gingivitis if their gums are red and swollen up and if they’re receding. If you leave gingivitis untreated, it will develop into a condition called Periodontal disease which causes an infection that can travel through the bloodstream. If it gets particularly bad it could end up affecting all of their other organs and making them seriously ill. The best way to avoid any gum problems is routine brushing and dental care, and getting them checked by the vet regularly.

Cracked Teeth

Dogs are always chomping on things all day long so it’s only natural that some of their teeth are going to get broken sometimes. If they bite down hard on something, they can easily get a slab fracture and crack the tooth. You’ll notice that your dog is having trouble eating because the tooth is very sensitive. They’ll need to go to the vets right away and get their tooth fixed up so they can eat properly again. There are all sorts of ways that a dog can break their teeth, it might be something that they’ve bitten down on but you could also be to blame. If you’re too rough with them when you’re playing with toys. They’re pretty strong and they can take a bit of a beating but that doesn’t mean you can pull as hard as you can on them. Always keep an eye on what you’re giving them to chew on and don’t let them get at rocks from the garden. When you’re playing with them, don’t go overboard.

If the break is particularly bad, the tooth might have to be taken out but smaller breaks might not need any treatment at all. If you notice any changes in your dog’s eating habits or they seem to be in pain, take them to the vet and get it checked out.

Root Abscess

The thing you do need to look out for if your dog gets a crack or a break in their teeth is a root abscess. When the tooth cracks you expose the sensitive areas inside and if bacteria gets in there, it can cause big problems. The bacteria will cause rot and it’ll turn into an abscess which is incredibly painful for your dog. You’ll notice a lot of swelling on one side of their face and possibly a red and inflamed eye. It’s also common for them to walk around with their head dipped to one side. If you think they may have a root abscess, have a look in their mouth and you’ll be able to see a large red lump.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that dogs teeth can be left alone, they need just as much care as yours do.