It is important to maintain your dog’s dental health, and most dental problems in dogs come from a build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to gum disease and bad breath. Fortunately, there are some things you can do at home to help keep your best friend’s teeth healthy, and reduce plaque and tartar build-up. But for serious issues, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. Some dental issues can only be solved by a dog teeth cleaning in Charleston, SC by a licensed veterinarian.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is the sticky, colorless film that forms on the teeth, and houses bacteria. Many pets have “sub-gingival” plaque that lurks below the gum line, and this plaque can form very rapidly, within hours after a meal. Without regular oral care, plaque can form on your dog’s teeth and combine with minerals in the saliva to form tartar, also known as calculus.
What is Tartar?
Tartar occurs when plaque hardens on your dog’s teeth, and once tartar hardens into calculus, it is very difficult to remove with tooth brushing or dental chews and would need professional dog teeth cleaning to remove it. Dogs develop plaque on their teeth when saliva, food particles, and bacteria come together. If left untreated, tartar can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
Signs of Dental Issues in Dogs in Charleston, SC
Your pet should have a dog teeth cleaning in Charleston, SC and their teeth checked at least once a year by your veterinarian, that way your veterinarian can detect any possible signs of impending dental issues.
If you notice the following signs in your dog, call your veterinarian, and make an appointment:
- A painful mouth
- Swelling around the mouth and below the eyes
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Excessive drooling, dropping food
- Changes in behavior, irritability
- Inappetence or reluctance to eat
- Bad breath
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Broken, loose, or wiggly teeth
- Heavy tartar and cement-like deposits on the teeth
Causes of Dental Problems in Dogs
The causes of dental problems in dogs are similar to causes seen in humans:
• Dental abscesses
• Palate defects such as cleft palates (more prevalent in short-nosed breeds)
• Malocclusion, or a misalignment of the upper and lower jaws.
• Periodontal and gum disease
• Broken teeth, broken tooth roots
• Cysts, tumors or growths in the mouth
How to Remove Plaque from Your Dog’s Teeth in Charleston, SC
There are several ways to minimize plaque and tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth, but we warned that when plaque develops into tartar, a professional dog teeth cleaning will be needed:
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
One of the best ways to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and to control the build-up of plaque and tartar is to brush his teeth. You don’t necessarily need to brush your dog’s teeth daily, although the more often the better. Most dogs aren’t too fond of the idea at first, but you can easily train your dog to have his teeth brushed.
There are many dental products available, and it’s important to buy toothpaste made specifically for dogs because human toothpaste contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Dog toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors ranging from chicken or peanut butter flavor, and dogs can learn to like the flavor. Also, many dog kinds of toothpaste are enzymatic, which means that they have properties (enzymes) that help reduce bacteria, in turn limiting tartar buildup and improving bad breath.
When brushing your dog’s teeth, you can use either a toothbrush made especially for dogs or a brush that fits over your fingertip. If you have any questions about brushing your dog’s teeth, ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
Dogs love treats, and dental treats a very good way to maintain your dog’s dental health and help combat bad breath. Dental treats are made to remove plaque buildup, and they contain ingredients that freshen your dog’s breath and can break up plaque and tartar. Dental chews and treats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors, and it should be easy to find a treat that your dog likes.
If brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t an option, you may want to try dental wipes. Tooth wipes are designed to be rubbed against your dog’s teeth to help remove plaque and tartar. Wipes work similarly to toothbrushes, but unlike tooth brushing, wipes can’t get into the tiny nooks and crannies that a brush can. But, dental wipes are a great way to clean your pet’s teeth and are easier to manage than a toothbrush with toothpaste.
There are many different types of dental chews available, and almost all of them have dog teeth cleaning properties. The act of chewing benefits your dog’s oral health, no matter what your dog is chewing on. The act of chewing and gnawing scrapes plaque off your dog’s teeth, and a lot of dental chews contain enzymes that help promote dental health. If you need recommendations regarding which dental chews are best, contact your veterinarian in Charleston, SC.
Specifically formulated dental dog foods and treats can slow the build-up of tartar and avoid the progression of dental disease and bad breath. Formulated veterinary dental diets provide balanced nutrition along with attributes that allow for scrubbing the teeth, freshening the breath, and reducing plaque and tartar formation. If you have questions about specially formulated dental diets for your dog, contact your veterinarian.
Professional Dog Teeth Cleaning in Charleston, SC
The best way to remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth is to call 843-571-7095 and schedule a dog teeth cleaning in Charleston, SC with your veterinarian at West Ashley Veterinary Clinic. Your veterinarian knows what’s best for your dog’s teeth and will be able to address any issues she finds. Although dental procedures and dental cleanings for dogs involve general anesthesia and are more expensive than the options listed above, it is the best way to maintain your dog’s optimal dental health. Your veterinarian is experienced in dental prophylaxis, and dog teeth cleanings can prevent, locate, and treat any issues that might go unnoticed.
West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, SC offers a full range of veterinary services to keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life!