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Just like humans, dog’s teeth are at risk from bacteria growth and plaque build up over time. Unlike humans, however, dogs are unable to brush their teeth. It’s up to us, the owners, to take care of them.
But how can we look after our dog’s teeth while minimizing their discomfort and protecting them from dental disease? Luckily, there are lots of great products out there, including dental chews, dental formulas, doggie toothpaste, and more that help to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. We’ve put together this guide on taking care of your dog’s oral health and products that can help.
Where Do Plaque and Tartar Come From?
Plaque is a concentration of bacteria that cover the teeth. It often forms as a result of food being left on the teeth, which bacteria will thrive on. These bacteria can produce bad smells and acids which damage the teeth over time.
Tartar develops from plaque over time as the plaque absorbs minerals like calcium from the saliva. It’s a hard, brown mass that can damage both the teeth and the gums. If left to develop, tartar can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems for your dog.
How to Prevent and Remove Plaque and Tartar
Removing tartar can be difficult once it’s taken hold, but it is possible. Vets will be able to remove it in a process known as dental scaling. For this, your dog will be put under anesthetic as the vet uses tools to remove plaque build-up from the teeth and gumline.
Aside from this, you can also help to limit plaque and stop tartar from forming using the following steps:
- Encourage chewing
Chewing is how dogs remove and clean their teeth naturally. It helps to scrape off the plaque and tartar before it has a chance to develop. Treats, toys, and large raw bones are all good options for chewing. Look for dog chews that are specifically designed to help combat plaque, as these will be most effective.
Rubber toys with a bumpy surface are also ideal in helping your dog scrape plaque and tartar off of their teeth. Be sure to use raw bones rather than cooked as they’re less likely to splinter in your dog’s mouth. Bones are naturally abrasive, rubbing any plaque from the surface of the teeth.
- Brush your dog’s teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth might sound complicated, but it’s an excellent way to keep their dental hygiene in good shape. You’ll need to find a specially formulated dog toothpaste, and dog toothbrush, human products won’t do.
Start at an early age for the best chance of getting your dog used to having its teeth cleaned. Praise your dog throughout and give them a treat at the end to build a positive association with teeth brushing.
- Use a dental formula water additive
For something that’s a lot less hassle than brushing your dog’s teeth, you could use a water additive. These specially formulated solutions are usually tasteless and odorless, meaning you can add it to your dog’s water supply each day.
They contain non-harmful chemicals that help to remove tartar. They also stop plaque build-up while promoting healthy teeth and gums. These products are a simple way to increase the dental hygiene of your dog and will leave their breath fresh and their teeth healthy and white.
Why is Dental Health so Important in Dogs?
Dogs regularly suffer from issues with their teeth as they’re unable to clean their own teeth. Unchecked plaque and tartar will eventually lead to gum disease, dental disease, and tooth loss. These can cause serious discomfort and health issues for your dog. Periodontal disease can even lead to bacteria from your dog’s mouth traveling to other areas of its body, where it can affect the major organs.
Not only will looking after your dog’s teeth help to eliminate bad breath, but you’ll also be helping to extend their life and add quality of life too.