You know that you should brush your dog’s teeth. You know that if you don’t, your dog could get dental disease. But what does that actually mean?

Did you know that 80% of dogs over age three have dental disease? Dental disease is one of the most common diseases diagnosed by veterinarians. 

Signs of dental disease include bad breath, tartar build-up, red and/or swollen gums, difficulty chewing, abnormal chewing, difficulty eating or refusal to eat, broken or loose teeth, and bleeding gums. If dental disease is left untreated, the bacteria can even enter the bloodstream causing significant organ damage.

More Than Just Bad Breath!

Unlike humans, who typically suffer from cavities and tooth decay, dogs and cats most commonly develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar causing inflammation and infection of the gums. If periodontal disease is left untreated, the bacteria can travel deeper into the gums to the tooth roots and begin to destroy the bone.  

Periodontal disease is categorized into four stages:  

Stage 1:

Gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums (the only stage that is reversible) 

Stage 2:

Early periodontal disease with less than 25% bone loss

Stage 3:

Established periodontal disease with 25-50% bone loss

Stage 4:

Advanced periodontal disease with more than 50% bone loss

Periodontal disease can be very painful for our pets. Besides bone and tooth loss, severe periodontal disease can cause even more damage to our pet’s overall health. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Daily brushing and regular dental examinations/cleanings with your veterinarian will help keep your pet healthy and happy.