Dog Tooth Decay
Dog teeth are similar to human teeth in terms of the care they require to function properly. Gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease can affect both the gums that secure the teeth and the teeth themselves. Therefore, it is essential that you help your dog maintain good oral hygiene by feeding it the right foods and helping it brush its teeth as you would your own.
Normal Dog Teeth
Factoring in differences between various breeds, the average puppy should have 23 baby teeth and the average adult dog 42 permanent teeth. The permanent teeth—which are divided into 20 on the upper jaw or maxilla and 22 on the lower jaw or mandible—include incisors, canines, molars and premolars. If your dog is missing teeth, it usually will be the premolars. While missing teeth result from a genetic defect, they generally do not affect your dog’s overall oral health. In fact, certain breeds are more prone to have missing teeth, including collies and doberman pinschers, while other breeds are more prone to have extra teeth, among them greyhounds and numerous varieties of spaniels. However, if properly cared for, your dog should not lose its teeth. Generally speaking, it also should not have gaps between them as this will allow food to gather and form plaque.
Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste
To help prevent tooth decay in your dog, first start by feeding it the right foods. Generally speaking, the harder the diet your dog eats the better. Dry dog foods, hard snacks and chew toys help your dog clean its teeth by scraping away the plaque that can lead to tartar and later health problems.
You can also help your dog maintain good oral hygiene by brushing its teeth with special brushes and pastes such as C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit and Sergeant's Petrodex Dental Care Kit, both of which are available from National Pet Pharmacy. The brushing should become a daily ritual and if done correctly shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds.
To brush your dog’s teeth accurately, use the following steps:
- Begin at the Beginning – Before you brush your dog’s teeth, make sure to get them cleaned by a licensed veterinarian. This way you will begin maintaining good oral health with a clean slate.
- Ease Your Way In – Once you have cleaned your dog’s teeth, you are ready for brushing. But you don’t need to push your dog too fast. First, let it get used to the brush without any toothpaste. You can spend a couple of weeks just rubbing the brush gently in its mouth so as to familiarize it with the ritual. Optionally, you can start first with the toothpaste minus the brush. Since dog toothpastes come in multiple flavors, including beef, poultry and malt (all available from National Pet Pharmacy), your dog should be happy to “endure” this process. Of course, you should never use regular human toothpaste on your dog.
- A Little Closer – After familiarizing your dog with the taste of dog toothpaste and/or the feel of a dog toothbrush, you might want to combine the two options by introducing the toothpaste with your finger and running it along the gum line as you would a brush.
- Ready – Once your dog has become comfortable with the processes above, you can begin by brushing its upper teeth first. Be sure to use a soft brush such as National Pet Pharmacy’s Four Paws Petdental Finger Toothbrushes and to use a circular motion. The brush should be held at a 45-degree angle to the tooth. If your dog refuses to accept a brush, you can try brushing its teeth using toothpaste on your finger.
- Set – Always brush the top teeth first as these are more susceptible to plaque. Then move to the lower teeth and do the same.
- Go – Make brushing part of a daily ritual. You might even combine it with your own daily brushing so that your dog can see by example how it is done.
Important note: When applying dog toothpaste to the brush, be sure to get it down between the bristles rather than just on the top of them. This will help insure that the toothpaste is evenly distributed throughout your dog’s mouth.
About National Pet Pharmacy
Dog food may not seem like advanced pet medicine, but dogs stay healthier when they eat the right things. National Pet Pharmacy has a complete selection of specialized dog foods from organic dog foods to breed specific foods. We believe firmly in the health of your whole pet. Health doesn’t happen accidentally. That’s why National Pet Pharmacy carries an array of products from pet medications to chew toys that keep your entire dog healthy.
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