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Gum disease, or periodontal disease is silent, it has no signs or symptoms, making it difficult to detect. Once it does advance however, it can do significant damage to your dogs’ teeth, gums, and mouth. While gum disease in dogs in common, it can be prevented and treated.
Dogs are 5 times more likely than humans to be affected by gum disease. We aren’t as vigilant about keeping our dogs teeth clean and this means more than 85% of all dogs over the age of four have some stage of gum disease. Dogs’ mouths also contain more alkaline than a humans mouth which leads to more plaque formation then you might see inside the mouth of a human.
Dogs get gum disease because of bacteria that builds up inside their mouths. As soon as a dog finishes eating, bacteria and plaque begin to build up along the gum line and in between teeth. If this bacteria and plaque are not removed then they will settle and begin to cause decay inside the mouth of your dog. Gum disease is painful, something, no dog deserves to go through. If your dog starts to show any of these behaviors, you might want to consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog has gum disease:
PROBLEMS EATING OR PICKING UP FOOD— If you notice your dog is having difficulty eating his dog food his gums might be swollen or his teeth may hurt.
BLEEDING OR RED GUMS— Just as we get red gums, our dogs get them as well. Your dentist and your veterinarian will tell you that this is an obvious sign that something is wrong inside your mouth, or the mouth of your dog.
LOOSE TEETH— Loose teeth are an obvious sign that bone loss and root damage have occurred inside your dogs’ mouth. Once the tooth or teeth, no longer have the support they need, they start to fall out. Once this happens it makes it difficult for your dog to eat his food.
BLOOD— If you notice blood, anywhere, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian. You might see blood after your dog takes a drink of water or he chews on his toys. You might also see blood when he drools from his mouth.
BAD BREATH—Halitosis is a good sign that your dog has bacteria or plaque inside his mouth. The odor you notice is the decay of this bacteria and plaque.
BUMPS INSIDE YOUR DOGS MOUTH—Bumps inside your dogs’ mouth indicate a possible infection within his teeth or gums. It might also be an indication that teeth are missing from your dogs’ mouth.
SNEEZING—Sneezing is another sign of gum disease, even more so if you notice nasal discharge coming from your dogs’ nose. This is a sign of severe gum disease and a good indication that there is bone loss between the nasal cavity and oral cavity inside your dogs’ mouth.
If left untreated gum disease in dogs’ can have severe consequences, one of them being a jaw fracture. The bones and teeth become weak because of decay and they begin to break down. When this happens, even the slightest injury can cause a fracture.
FEED YOUR DOG A GOOD, HIGH QUALITY DOG FOOD— Certain brands of dog food actually help prevent plaque from forming while your dog chews. If you aren’t sure what to feed your dog, ask your veterinarian for suggestions on the best food to buy for your dog.
PURCHASE TOYS AND TREATS FOR DAILY CHEWING— Giving your dog something to chew on everyday is a simple way to prevent gum disease. Choose toys such as rubber balls, flexible rawhide strips and toy that allow you to hide treats. Use caution when choosing rawhide strips. If a piece of rawhide breaks off, it could cause stomach distress in your dog. Choose rawhide that is soft and pliable to prevent this from happening.
It’s also suggested that you avoid hard bones of any kind. Allowing your dog to chew on animal bones, nylon bones or pigs ears could cause a tooth to break inside your dogs’ mouth. Don’t hesitate to speak with your veterinarian if you have questions about treats you might be giving to your dog.
Once you’ve purchased the food, the treats and the toys, it’s important to remember to maintain the quality of your dogs’ teeth. Veterinarians recommend doing the following to keep your dogs mouth clean and healthy:
Your dogs’ teeth should be brushed twice a day, just as you would brush your own teeth. Brushing away plaque and bacteria on a regular basis are the best ways to prevent gum disease. If you aren’t able to brush your dogs’ teeth twice a day, speak with your veterinarian about what you can do to prevent tooth decay or loss in your dogs’ mouth.
Your veterinarian might suggest your dog undergo regular dental checkups, just as if we would go to the dentist. An x-ray of your dogs’ mouth is the only way to reliably tell if your dog has damage to his teeth and gums.
If your dog does have gum disease, it is possible to treat, provided too much damage hasn’t already occurred. Gum disease in dogs has four stages:
ONE—Gum disease in stage one means your dogs’ gums are inflamed or red in color. The only treatment your veterinarian will suggest at this point is a good cleaning above the gum line.
TWO— At stage two no bone or tooth loss has occurred but your veterinarian might notice periodontal pockets between the teeth and the gums in your dogs’ mouth. A periodontal pocket occurs when a tooth starts to wiggle free of the roots holding it in place but the bones and teeth in your dogs’ mouth should still be intact. Your veterinarian will clean your rinse and clean your dogs’ teeth and gums. He or she might also help loose teeth reattach to the gums by applying a gel or sealant to the tooth.
THREE—Stage three means there has been bone or tooth loss inside your dogs’ mouth. What this means for your dog is that periodontal pockets have grown significantly in size allowing for bone loss to occur. At this point your veterinarian might need to work inside the mouth of your dog. He or she will clean out the diseased area around the decayed or loose tooth. Once this work is complete your veterinarian will recommend what to do next in order for new bone and tissue growth to occur in your dog’s mouth.
FOUR– Once your dog has reached stage four of periodontal disease the only option is to extract the tooth that is loose or decayed. More than 50 percent of the tooth has been lost and there is no reason to save the tooth.
Maintaining your dogs’ teeth is the easiest way to prevent gum disease from occurring in the mouth of your dog. You take care of your own smile, take care of your dogs’ as well.
Thank you to http://www.pets.webmd.com. See their site for more helpful tips on keeping your dog happy and healthy.
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