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Just like humans, dogs can lose their teeth from age, accidents, or disease. Yearly dental exams should be scheduled to make sure that your dog isn’t suffering from a cracked or broken tooth. At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we offer dentistry for all of your dog’s tooth aches, breaks, and losses. 

Losing Puppy Teeth Is Normal

At around 12 weeks of age, your puppy will start losing teeth. Their fully formed adult teeth won’t be fully grown until they’re six months old. When their adult teeth start growing in, this will cause them to lose their baby teeth. 

Puppies will try to relieve the pain of growing new teeth by biting and chewing as often as they can. Buying the safest toys is important, but it’s even more important to note that no toy is 100% safe. When making purchases, look for toys that will not cause digestive issues if consumed or ripped apart. 

Periodontal Disease In Dogs

When a dog loses teeth in adulthood, you should always be concerned. The most common and likely cause of tooth loss in adult dogs is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Proper dental care can help prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

Some symptoms of severe gum disease include:

  • Problems picking up food
  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Blood in the water bowl or on chew toys
  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • “Talking” or making noises when eating or yawning
  • Bumps or lumps in the mouth
  • Bloody or ropey saliva
  • Not wanting the head touched 
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge 

Why Do Dogs Get Periodontal Disease?

Bacteria causes gum disease in both humans and pets. After eating, bacteria mixed with food and saliva form plaque over the teeth. This is why brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis is so important as to keep plaque at a minimum. The longer the plaque rests on the teeth, the worse condition they can end up in. 

The bacteria in plaque trick the white blood cells into breaking down gum tissue instead of destroying the bacteria. Without proper dental care, pets can end up with inflamed gums, damaged gum tissue, and eventual bone loss. 

Gum disease occurs five times more often in dogs than people due to the inconsistency of hygiene and brushing. Furthermore, dogs have more alkaline in their mouths than humans which means they have more plaque. 

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are four stages of gum disease. Depending on how far along your dog is, different treatment plans become necessary.  

  • Stage 1 is mild, and cleaning is the only treatment option available. This involves a regular brushing schedule. You might notice your dog has mild redness and inflammation but not to the point of severe disease.
  • Stage 2 involves cleaning, rinsing, and treating your dog’s gum tissue and tooth root with a gel that will help them reattach. 
  • Stage 3 means that there is bone loss. This is more severe, and involves opening the gum flap and cleaning the tissue around the tooth root and bone. 
  • Stage 4 means that over half of the bone is lost and the tooth or teeth must be removed. 

Gum Disease Prevention

Working with your veterinarian, follow these steps to prevent your dog from contracting gum disease:

  • Take your dog in for regular oral exams and cleanings. Oral exams with x-rays are the only way to fully see what’s happening in your dog’s mouth
  • Brush your dog’s teeth every day. Some pet owners believe that certain treats and chew toys act as substitutes for teeth brushing. Be sure to avoid toothpastes with xylitol, which is toxic  for dogs. Reading labels and making sure that products are marked “for dogs” will help to avoid confusion. 
  • Feed your dog high quality dog food. Talk to your vet about which diet is right for your dog. 
  • Offer safe toys and treats for daily chewing. 

Schedule a Wellness Exam Today

At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we will treat your pets with the utmost care. If your pet is experiencing discomfort associated with periodontal disease, please contact us right away. We are committed to working with you to figure out the best plan for your dog’s tooth loss. 

Photo by Yoav Hornung on Unsplash

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