Before loose teeth start to wiggle, you may not notice anything different about your dog’s tooth and gum health. In most cases, the underlying causes of loose teeth in dogs, such as gum disease, rarely show obvious symptoms. You must know exactly what to look for and how to best care for your dog’s teeth and gums to help prevent loose teeth. With the right information in hand, you can ensure your dog’s teeth and gums receive the absolute best care at home and from your veterinarian. Utilize this informative guide to learn about the potential causes, symptoms, treatments and preventative care techniques used for loose teeth in dogs.
Causes of Loose Teeth in Dogs
Puppies will typically start to lose their 28 baby teeth at four months of age to allow their 42 adult teeth to grow in their place. Losing baby teeth is a normal part of life, but losing adult teeth is often a sign of advanced gum disease. In fact, the American Veterinary Association estimates that 85 percent of dogs over age three exhibit minor to severe gum disease. The development of gum disease at such a young age often leads to serious complications down the road without treatment and ongoing preventative care.
Trauma is another reason for loose teeth in dogs. If your dog recently received a harsh blow, such as a collision with another dog, the loose teeth may be related to that incident. You must work with your veterinary professional to pinpoint the cause of the loose teeth and create an appropriate care plan.
Early Symptoms of Tooth Loss in Dogs
When the loose teeth are trauma related, you may notice your dog exhibiting signs of swelling or pain in the injured area. Bleeding around the tooth could also occur due to damage to the gum tissue and tooth structure.
When the loose teeth are caused by gum disease, however, much subtler signs indicate there is an issue. In the early stages of gum disease, there are usually no symptoms at all, though some dogs have gum swelling around the periodontal pockets. The swelling results from the buildup of plaque along the gumline and within the pockets around each tooth.
As plaque builds up and the disease progresses, however, the swelling may affect all of the gum tissues and cause the gums to deepen in color. In addition, the gum tissue may recede, revealing more of the tooth structure and loosening its connection in the socket. Bad breath and bumps on the gum tissue are also common.
With gum swelling and discoloration comes pain, which may show in the form of eating difficulties. If you notice a difference in your dog’s eating patterns without a known cause, your veterinary dentist can help you determine if gum disease or loose teeth are a contributing factor.
Complications of Untreated Gum Disease
Without treatment, gum disease continues to worsen, causing your dog more and more pain. Eventually, the affected teeth will start to loosen and even fall out. Without teeth there to act as an anchoring structure, the jawbone will start to recede. As the most advanced stage of gum disease, dogs can suffer up to 50 percent bone loss in their jaw. Their ability to pick up and chew food diminishes greatly with the tooth and jawbone loss.
As a result of the pain and inability to eat properly, dogs can start to develop behavioral problems, such as aggression toward people. Proper treatment can help reverse damage to your dog’s oral structures before these habits become ingrained.
Just as in humans, if gum disease is not treated there is a significantly increased chance of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Professional Treatment for Gum Disease in Canines
At most stages of gum disease, the professional removal of plaque can help the gum tissue heal and grow. For this reason, regular checkups and tooth cleaning procedures are necessary to protect the dental health of your dog. Your veterinary dentist will need to put your dog under anesthesia for up to an hour to scrape away the plaque and clean each tooth surface in full.
Once the plaque buildup reaches a critical stage, however, pockets will form beneath the teeth, which allows harmful bacteria to flourish. To determine the severity of your dog’s gum disease, your veterinary dentist will take a series of x-rays that show the teeth and jawbone.
Treatment for the earliest stages of gum disease revolves around establishing a thorough daily brushing routine. The brushing routine needs to include a safe and effective professional toothpaste that helps inhibit the formation of plaque on your dog’s teeth. Petsmile, for example, utilizes an innovative Calprox formula that dissolves the biofilm that forms on enamel which plaque and stains adhere to keeping plaque from sticking to the tooth surface and forming tartar. While brushing your pet's teeth, technique matters as well, so take the time to get it right for the overall health and wellbeing of your dog.
How You Can Help Keep Your Dog’s Teeth and Gums Healthy
Daily brushing of your dog’s teeth is the best preventative care you can provide. The brushing action removes plaque while a high-quality VOHC accepted toothpaste, like Petsmile, keeps plaque and tartar from forming. The toothpaste should have a strong flavor, such as London Broil and Rotisserie Chicken, to keep your dog excited about the process.
Add toothpaste to your brush or you can use your finger with Petsmile toothpaste, gently raise your dog's lip to expose the outer tooth surface and apply onto their teeth. Press softly while scrubbing back and forth on the tooth surface, making sure to hit every nook and cranny along the gumline. Focus on removing plaque on the upper molars and canine teeth, as those areas usually have the most tartar buildup of all.
Support Your Dog’s Tooth and Gum Health with Petsmile
When you use Petsmile toothpaste, your dog will happily sit at your feet and enjoy the delicious flavor while you brush their teeth. You can rely on Petsmile, formulated with Calprox, to help protect your pet’s teeth while treating your pet to the flavor of London Broil or Rotisserie Chicken. The safe, human-grade ingredients help create a toothpaste product that promotes the health and wellbeing of your canine and feline companions. Treat your pet to the best in daily oral care with Petsmile.