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Bacteria are present everywhere on canine bodies. When they get under the gums of your dog in the form of a plaque, it can lead to gum disease which is one of the most common dental conditions that assails dogs. A lot of people think that tartar, the brown colored coating on teeth is the cause of gum disease. However, that is not exactly true. Tartar is just hardened, calcified plaque which provides hiding places where the bacteria can thrive. Let us look at some of the most common signs of gum disease:
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Gingivitis – Symptoms of this condition include swelling and redness of the gums. If you notice that your dog’s gums are more swollen or redder than usual, it is time to take him to the vet.
- Bad breath – Even before you notice any signs of gingivitis, pet owners may notice that their dog has really bad breath. A lot of pet owners think that dog breath is common, but it really isn’t. It is common only because most of the dogs have some form of gum disease. Dental disease is the most frequent cause behind bad breath.
- Receding gums – If the gums of your dog look like they have separated from the teeth, that is a sure fire sign of gum disease. Once the disease becomes advanced, the tissue will recede all the way and expose the roots of your dog’s teeth.
- Bleeding – If the gums of your dog bleed whenever he chews, or when you probe his mouth or brush his teeth, it is a sign that your dog has advancing periodontal disease.
- Loose teeth – In the later stages of periodontal disease, the teeth will start becoming loose and will easily fall off.
If gingivitis is caught and treated early on, it can be treated before it snowballs into periodontal disease. The key is to clean out the bacteria before they advance. If you let the gingivitis advance, it can lead to serious health consequences. A lot of the dogs, especially those that weight under twenty pounds, develop gum disease and based on their genetics, it can begin as early as 24 months old.As the gingivitis worsens, your dog will start to lose tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Your vet might be forced to extract the teeth.Gum disease prevention
Brush the teeth of your dog regularly. Once a day would be ideal, but if you cannot, at least brush them twice during the week. Products like water additives
can help in maintaining gum health. However, they should not be used as a substitute for proper brushing. Also, take your dog for scheduled dental cleaning sessions with the veterinarian. The vet will administer general anesthesia to scale and polish your pet’s teeth.