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Dog Teeth Tartar and Plaque Removal

 Submitted by Michael Adams on May 24, 2010

Detecting dental problems early in your dog will help to avoid severe dental disease. The best way to do this is to regularly check your dog’s teeth and also to ensure that your dog visits the vet every 6-12 months. Periodic examinations can detect: bleeding gums, missing teeth, halitosis and dog teeth tartar too.

Tartar is the hard coating on a dog’s teeth that builds up due to plaque. It is usually brown or yellow in color. Dogs rarely suffer from cavities and are more prone to excess build up of tartar on their teeth.

Food particles and bacteria collect on the dog’s gum and this forms plaque. Plaque turns into tartar within 24-28 hours. If the plaque is not removed, then the minerals present in salvia mix with the plaque and tartar is formed. Plaque appears on the teeth within 3-5 days of formation. Your dog might suffer from oral pain, periodontal disease, tooth loss and halitosis if the tartar is not removed. The bacteria also affect other parts of the body like the kidneys and the heart. The best way to remove plaque is by daily brushing. A good dog oral care routine should be started right from the time the dog is small so that he gets used to his teeth being brushed and inspected. Use the special enzymatic toothpaste that is formulated for dogs when brushing. Oral rinses, hard kibbles and rope toys also help remove plaque. Tartar can only be removed by a veterinarian with scalers.

A canine tooth abscess can develop quickly and if ignored can cause serious dog health problems. Major problems can develop in the mouth as well as the major organs like the kidneys, heart and lungs. Such abscesses occur when bacteria is present at the root of the tooth. Causes include wounds, bites, and foreign objects like splinters and bacteria like E.coli, Streptococcus, taphylococcus, and Pseudomonas which are present on the dog’s skin. Symptoms to watch out for are bad breath, decreased intake of food, swelling near the eyes, a swollen nose, discolored or bloody teeth and a dog constantly scratching at his nose. The treatments available are either extraction or a process similar to that of a root canal performed on a human. The root canal saves the tooth and it is then scaled, polished and plaque is removed. Long term antibiotics are required for both treatments.

The best way to avoid all the above problems is to follow a good dog dental care program where the dog’s teeth are cleaned at home as well as by a veterinarian.
Pet Health Instructor
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