Posted by Dr Sam, On 20 Jun, 2019 | Updated On 19 Nov, 2020 No Comments »
Dog owners hardly bother about the dental care of their dogs. The most common dog oral illness is periodontal disease. A veterinary dentistry reported states that about 5.3% of dogs have tooth decay.
Periodontal disease is the consequence of bacteria accumulation (bacterial dental plaque) on the dental top part (that is the part of the teeth you see outside). Findings show that every dog is affected by periodontal disease. The degree of this oral disease varies from breed to breed and from dog to dog.
Gingivitis is inflammatory reaction to the accumulation of bacterial tooth plaque on the dental crowns along the gingiva (gingiva is the gum around the root of the teeth). Usually, the external surfaces of the teeth are more severely affected than the internal surfaces, and the teeth at the upper jaw (maxillary teeth) are more affected than the teeth at the lower jaw (mandibular teeth).
Dog Physiological Stage and Periodontal Disease
A research shows that 80% of dogs of age 6 years and above have moderate to severe periodontitis characterized by bone decay.
The teeth plaque above gingiva slowly petrify into stone-hard substance called tartar or calculus. The tartar becomes glaring some days after the teeth plaque starts forming.
Observation conducted on Beagle breed shows that by 26 months age, about 95% of the dogs have huge tartar buildup and critical gingivitis with periodontitis.
Naturally, age worsens periodontal disease. There is statistics that show major relationship between age and gingivitis, volume of tartar and periodontitis.
Dog Individuality and Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis proceeds periodontitis. The change process of gingivitis to periodontitis is peculiar to individual dog. Development of infection that causes periodontitis is limited by adequate oral hygiene and dog individual immune system.
Dog Size and Periodontal Disease
Study shows that small breed dogs of body weight (BW) less than 8 kg experience periodontal disease earlier and more severely. The research further shows that the internal surfaces of the teeth and the incisors are most affected.
The volume of teeth is higher in the jaw of a small dog. And the smaller the size of a dog, the more the volume of her teeth. Therefore, when periodontitis strikes, the firmness of the jaw is affected by the steady decay of the sockets of the teeth in the jawbone.
For instance, Veterinary Medical Data Base, 1979-1999 shows that Yorkshire Terrier – a small breed dog of weight less than 7 Pounds, suffers jaw fractures a lot across age classes.
Dog Sex and Periodontal Disease
There is no established relationship between the sex of a dog and periodontal disease.
Is Periodontal Disease Reversible in Dogs?
Dental plaque is a natural bacterial film that grows on the teeth surface. There are over 350 types of bacterial in the oral cavity. Periodontal disease is caused by the synergy of these bacteria.
The bacteria first amass as great army on the crown of the teeth (forming supragingival dental plaque). They later extend underneath the gingiva (forming subgingival dental plaque). Once at gingiva, the bacteria prompt gingivitis.
When You Delay Giving Oral Care to Your Dog
If timely oral care is not provided to you dog, the bacteria already under the gingiva of your dog’s teeth will steadily provoke more deep-lying sores. This will lead to:
- Damage of gum.
- Damage of teeth ligament.
- Decay of root of the teeth.
These deep wounds undo the tooth and make it more and more rootless. Further damage by the bacteria lead to the creation of a periodontal pocket and eventual falling off of the tooth.
Therefore it is possible to reverse periodontal disease at gingivitis stage. Once the damages of gum and teeth ligament and root occur, which are the characteristics of periodontitis, reversibility may not be possible and the teeth may fall off.
Best Dog Oral Hygiene and Care
The objectives of oral hygiene is to check the growth of calculus and the formation of bacterial teeth plaque. Calculus (tartar) is formed by the steady ossification of the dental plaque by calcium and other mineral salt in saliva.
The following factors enhance the accumulation of calculus:
- Absence of oral hygiene.
- Dental malocclusion (unfavorable relative positioning of the teeth).
- Reduced masticatory (chewing) activity.
- Persistence of deciduous (shed) teeth.
- Regular diseases like liver failure, diabetes mellitus and kidney failure.
- Acquired immunodeficiency.
- Soft sticky food.
The very basis of oral hygiene is prevention of supragingival dental plaque. Professional teeth treatment like scaling, subgingival debridement and polishing help prevent periodontal disease but proper daily brushing before formation or after removal of supragingival dental plaque will help ensure health teeth.
Oral hygiene is divide into two:
- Primary hygiene: this is prevention of healthy gingivae from developing periodontal disease.
- Secondary hygiene: this is prevention of recurrence of the periodontal disease after professional periodontal treatment.
You should, of course, desire primary prevention because it occurs earlier and more effective.
How to remove plaque from dog’s teeth – Brushing
In oral hygiene and control of supragingival dental plaque, teeth brushing is the major standard.
Here is how to clean dog teeth with brushing:
1. To maintain healthy gingivae and prevent supragingival dental plaque, brush your dog’s teeth at least 3 times a week.
2. To restore healthy gingivae in the presence of gingivitis, brush your dog teeth every day.
An effective dog toothpaste should contain an active chemical substance called chlorhexidine. The chemical substance is effective in preventing and removing dental plaque on the vestibular surfaces. Other great substances a good dog toothpaste should contain are polyphosphate salts and zinc salts.
How to Clean Your Dog Teeth Without Brushing
Cleaning of your dog’s teeth either by brushing or by massaging requires your intervention and your dog’s cooperation. This drawbacks have led to production of other oral hygiene measures that do not need your direct intervention. This oral care product is collagen-based chewing bones.
Collagen-based chewing bone that cannot be eating is preferable.
Role of Food in Dog Dental Hygiene and Care.
The following facts have been established about dog food and dental care:
- Firm and fibrous food given to dog in form of large pieces which encourage the use of teeth is beneficial.
- Food containing anti-calculus agent like phosphate polymers (i.e. pyrophosphate, polyphosphate, hexametaphosphate), polyphenols, essential oils, metallic ion salts, etc. is good for your dental hygiene.
Hard food or food in kibble form is not normally effective than a soft food. The main thing is the fiber content of the food rather than its hardness. Study has shown that there is no major difference between dogs given only dry food and other dogs. However dogs that were given food that requires chewing presented less calculus and fewer cases of gingivitis.
Homemade Dog Dental Care Formula
In order to avoid huge dog dental care cost, prevention by early intervention is required and by homemade dental care formula.
1. Green Tea: a herb that is rich in active polyphenols like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). The polyphenols is beneficial in the prevention of periodontal disease.
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2. Kelp: a nutrient-rich seaweed with high content of phosphorus and zinc. It is effective for solving dog’s bad breath and teeth plague.
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3. Eucalyptus Oil: an essential oils that act to reduce bad breath and gingiva inflammation. It is great for controlling multiplication of bacterial in the mouth.
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This teeth lotion or massaging oil is made by soaking green tea and kelp in the eucalyptus oil.
- Eucalyptus Oil – 1 cup
- Green Tea Leaves – 30 grams
- Kelp – 1/8 teaspoon
The preparation involves infusing the green tea and kelp into the oil.
1. Put about 2 inches of water in the bottom of a double boiler.
2. Place the oil into the top.
3. Add the green tea and kelp
4. Stir the mixture well.
5. Heat the mixture until it is moderately warm to reach about 100ºF (38ºC).
6. Remove from the heat.
7. Heat the mixture like this (Step 5 and 6) 3 time per day for 2 day.
By now, the oil would have changed color to show that the herbs and the oil have infused. You can strain off the herbs particles using cheesecloth or let the herbs remain with the oil.
Direction of Use
Apply the homemade dental care concoction to your dog teeth/gum 3 times in a week for prevention of calculus.
Apply every day for removal of calculus and treatment of periodontal disease.
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