Gum disease in dogs or periodontitis is the cause of the weakening and eventual loss of the support structures of the teeth. It can cause significant damage to a dog’s mouth, and that is that periodontitis can cause eroded gums, bad breath, loss of teeth, bone loss of the jaws, and chronic pain.
Next, you will understand how this disease is established and how to act to treat and alleviate this condition.
What is gum disease in dogs?
This condition, which is commonly known as canine periodontitis, is a bacterial infection of the mouth. Four stages of periodontal disease are recognized.
It progresses from the formation of tartar and slightly swollen gums to established gingivitis (gum disease, stage II). The disease progresses to mild and, ultimately, severe periodontitis, which may involve bone or dental loss, with extensive accumulation of tartar.
What signs should we look for as clues?
The first thing you can do at home is simply looking for signs of dental disease. Turn your pet’s lip and ask yourself these questions:
- Does your dog have bad breath? This is one of the first signs of periodontal disease.
- Does your dog have red or swollen gums?
- Are your canine partner’s teeth yellow or brown? Do you have any loose teeth, or have you lost it?
- How is your dog’s appetite? Do you still play hunting? Do you have trouble chewing bones? Have you lost weight?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, your dog might have periodontal disease. But don’t worry, because you’ll always be in time to help him.
Why is it important not to neglect gum disease in dogs?
It is necessary to keep in mind that bacterial infection causes erosion of the gums, teeth, and bones, which causes chronic pain. It also causes the loss of teeth and bones.
On the other hand, gum disease increases the risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease in dogs. All of these consequences can be prevented if dental hygiene measures are taken throughout life.
Commonly, symptoms are noticed in older dogs with advanced periodontal disease. Even so, it is known that 9 out of 10 dogs have gum disease at three years of age. This is a shocking statistic.
Causes of gum disease in dogs
Gum disease begins with a combination of bacteria, food, and saliva to form plaque. The plaque covers the teeth, and, in two or three days, it combines with minerals and hardens in tartar.
The canine immune system tries to fight bacteria in plaque. It is this process that causes the gums to become red and inflamed. Tartar continues to develop and begins to separate the gums from the teeth.
The separation of the gums creates the characteristic bags, an open space between the teeth and the gums. This is the ideal space for bacteria to multiply.
Once the disease is advanced, abscesses form and tissue is destroyed. The teeth become loose, and the bone deteriorates.
Treatment of gum disease in dogs
A brief physical exam can detect swollen gums and tartar buildup. However, a complete oral exam can only be performed under general anesthesia.
If the veterinarian suspects gum disease, he will recommend dental prophylaxis. This procedure will examine the teeth and gums more thoroughly and will provide thorough cleaning under anesthesia.
So that the pet does not have to undergo anesthesia more than once, it is recommended to start the treatment or perform extractions at the same time that the cleaning is done.
Up to 60% of periodontal disease is performed below the gum line. Dental radiography is a valuable tool to visualize bone loss and deterioration.
Prevention is the best option for your dog
Periodontal disease is irreversible, and the intervention only seeks control of its progression. Therefore, preventive dental hygiene is the best way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. Start brushing your dog’s teeth while still a puppy and schedule annual dental cleanings with your veterinarian.
Approved toothpaste for animals is available at most pet stores. In addition, they have flavor, so that most dogs learn to tolerate and even enjoy brushing teeth.
If you offer a good routine of home dental care and regular professional dental cleanings, you will help prevent gum disease in your dog.