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Oral and Dental Health in Dogs

Like humans, dogs are born without teeth, and over time, first milk teeth emerge. Puppies have 28 milk teeth. Unlike permanent teeth, milk teeth have weak and shallow roots. Structurally, it is much thinner and sharper. By 4 months, the puppy's mouth is full of milk teeth.

From the 4th month, milk teeth begin to leave their place to permanent teeth. First, the front incisors begin to fall, and thus change begins. When the dog is 8-9 months old, the milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. Adult dogs have 42 teeth. 22 of them are in the lower jaw and 20 of them are in the upper jaw. Especially canine teeth are quite long and prominent.

In some small breeds (especially poodle, pomerian, shih tzu and papillon breeds) permanent teeth come out without losing the milk teeth. If the milk teeth of these breeds do not fall out by 7-8 months, it is absolutely necessary to intervene. Otherwise, it may damage the permanent tooth and cause decay.

At this point, it is important to know that tooth decay in dogs does not occur as quickly as in humans. Because of our different nutritional habits and genetic reasons, dogs' teeth are stronger and healthier than humans. Unlike humans, oral mucosa is more closed to bacteria.

So what should be done for oral and dental health in dogs?

Brushing Teeth: Although not required every day, it is optional. In general, dogs need to be accustomed to brushing teeth during puppyhood, otherwise an adult dog may not like it.

Dental Sticks: It is possible to provide dental health in mechanical methods. The most common are dental sticks. It can be given as a reward in addition to the main meal.

Dried Natural Products/Bones: These are the products that are recommended to be used because of their healthy content and being sclerous products. These are natural products such as dried calf's ear, bull penis, horn etc. Sclerous products trigger biting and biting cleans the tooth. It also prevents tartar formation to a great extent.

Nutrition: Dental problems are frequently encountered in dogs fed with soft foods (wet food, home food etc). Because they accumulate on the teeth, impair dental health, cause tartar and caries. For this reason, menus suitable for dental health should be prepared. Dogs should not be fed with soft foods all the time, pieced meats should be preferred if raw feeding is done, whether the dry food used is suitable for dental health should be checked, and teeth and gums should be checked frequently by the veterinarian and pet parent.

Tooth Cleaning Products with Plastic Material: By putting delicious liquid foods inside, teeth cleaning can be achieved by the dog biting the object.

Play and Exercise Habits: Canine teeth are very important for games and sports with dogs, and teeth breakage can be observed from time to time. You should check your dog's teeth and gums frequently, as tooth fractures will also accelerate decay. In addition, tooth fractures can be encountered in cases such as fetch games played with hard objects like stones, or dogs that are not exercised enough and left in the cage, biting the cage wires.

What could be the causes of bad breath in dogs?

1. Tartar Buildup: Tartar accumulated in the mouth causes the formation of plaque and tooth stone. You can prevent this by occasional brushing or mechanical cleaning. If very advanced tartar is observed, gingival recession may occur after intense plaque formation. In this case, tartar should be cleaned by carrying out the detertration process by your veterinarian.

2. Malnutrition: As mentioned above, a correct diet should be formed. High-grain feeds can also cause tartar.

3. Gingivitis: It means gingival diseases. By checking the gums immediately, the presence of foreign bodies in gums and the possibility of abscessing should be considered.

4. Tooth decay: That can cause bad breath.

5. Pharyngitis, Laryngitis, Sinusitis, Gastritis: There may be bad breath due to inflammation in the back of the upper palate, inflammation of the pharynx or stomach disorders such as gastritis in dogs.

6. Papillomatosis: These wart-like infections in the mouth can cause bad breath when their number increases.

7. Tooth change: Especially during the puppy period, when tooth change takes place, the gums become more hyperemic and bleeding occurs when the teeth fall out. For this reason, even if there is bad breath for a short time, there is nothing to worry about.

8. Intraoral tumoral cases: Cancer, which is the most dangerous cause on the list, can also cause odor.

Oral and dental health in dogs is an issue that needs attention. Both in veterinary controls and at home, the mouth, teeth and gums should be checked frequently by the pet parent. If an abnormal situation is encountered, the veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

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