If you were to rate your dog’s dental health on a scale of 1 being the worst to 10 being the best, what would it be? Unfortunately, the majority of adult dogs would be ranked toward the low end of the scale. In fact, according to Dogs Naturally, more than 70 percent of dogs and cats will suffer from periodontal disease (AKA gum disease) by the time they’re just two years old. Unless you take action early on, your dog’s teeth will just worsen with age.
So Why Is Dog Dental Health So Important?
Let’s start with the impact bad teeth have on the entire mouth:
- If your pup’s teeth don’t get any TLC, they will start to build up plaque. If this isn’t removed, every time your pup bites down into his food, bacteria will start collecting near the gum line.
- If plaque remains on the teeth long enough to harden, it becomes tarter.
- Since tarter irritates the gums, it leads to inflammation (AKA gingivitis). Swollen, red, and even bleeding gums are not normal and need to be checked by a vet immediately.
This all causes some pretty stinky dog breath and can leave your pooch in a lot of pain. Eventually, if poor dental health progresses, the teeth will rot and likely fall out. But it doesn’t end there.
Just like how teeth can rot, so can your pup’s jaw bone. This bone is susceptible to infection and can easily become brittle. A broken jaw maxilla or mandible may not heal, causing life-long effects.
But poor dental health impacts way more than just your dog’s teeth, mouth, and jaw.
Researchers have found dogs who suffer from periodontal disease typically have weakened/ broken down gum tissue. This creates “openings” in the gums for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. If your dog’s immune system doesn’t fight off that bacteria, it can reach and eventually infect the heart.
If the bacteria circulate in the blood and settle on the heart valves, dogs can develop something called Endocarditis. To put it simply, the heart valves and inner surface lining become infected and inflamed. Such infection can lead to ulceration of the heart valve, which increases the risk of blood clots. Bacterial endocarditis can lead to heart disease and heart failure.
Additionally, veterinarians say certain strains of oral bacteria contain sticky proteins that can adhere to your dog’s arterial wall, eventually narrowing blood passageways.
While the heart is perhaps the most talked about impacted organ, periodontal disease can trigger serious health issues in other organs as well—such as the liver. The liver is in charge of purifying blood and eliminating waste. Bacteria that enter the blood stream and reach the liver has been linked to liver damage.
The kidneys have an extremely important job of eliminating waste. When bacteria reach the kidneys and compromise their function, waste product can build up in your pup’s body. This can trigger a list of other health issues.
Keeping Your Pups Teeth Clean
As you can see, it’s essential to keep your canine kid’s pearly whites in tip-top shape. Click here for four tips to keep your dog’s teeth clean (plus, a homemade toothpaste recipe that is loaded with all-natural, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral ingredients)!