Bits for dogs do not yet exist, but it is probably only a matter of time before the first “third party” bits are developed and marketed for dogs. But it is better for dog and owner to ensure that the question of a denture does not arise in the first place. In principle, dogs’ teeth are threatened by the same dangers as our teeth. Dog teeth are also not immune to tartar, periodontal disease and tooth decay.
However, tooth decay is not as common in dogs, probably because they suck less lollipops than humans. And that’s the first clue about dental care. It starts with the food. Chocolate, sweets and other sugary delicacies have no place in the dog’s mouth. A balanced diet also protects your teeth. Some manufacturers even offer food that is supposed to take care of the teeth while they are eating and to prevent the much more common tartar. As a snack and as a reward, there are dental chewing trips that are available at the vet. Speaking of tartar: It occurs frequently and, in addition to unpleasant halitosis, also causes painful inflammation of the gums, which around 85 percent of all dogs suffer from. The tartar arises mainly at the gum line. Food leftovers stick there and feed bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria multiply explosively and form deposits that ultimately become rock-hard, i.e. tartar.
Sooner or later, the bacteria trigger inflammation in the gums. Everyone has seen what happens next in countless toothpaste commercials. The gums retract, forming pockets and exposing the sensitive neck of the tooth. The notorious periodontal disease has arisen.
Gums that have retreated and exposed the neck of the tooth, and in severe cases even the tooth root, no longer grow back to their original position. If left untreated, the disease progresses until the tooth roots are exposed and even the jawbone is attacked. At this stage the tooth can no longer be saved. Bad enough – but not all. Because in the gum pockets, in the tartar and in the plaque, bacteria thrive, which can reach other parts of the body via the blood vessels and cause diseases there.
As a preventive measure, leftover food should be removed regularly. Veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth every other day. Toothbrushes and toothpaste for humans are not suitable for dogs. Human toothbrushes are usually too hard on the dog’s delicate gums. And toothpaste with the usual mint taste is a horror for the dog. There are now special dental care products for dogs at the vet. However, the four-legged friends are initially not enthusiastic about the oral hygiene. It is best to get the puppy used to manipulation in its catch. Playfully you open your mouth again and again until it is the most normal thing in the world for him that people tamper with his catch.
The serenity you have learned when checking the mouth proves to be valuable if, for example, the dog bites into a splinter of wood or injures itself in the muzzle. Misaligned teeth or problems with changing teeth are also recognized early. To get the puppy used to brushing their teeth, first massage the gums with your finger without a brush. Only when he accepts massaging can you try the brush. It is important that the practice is playful and gentle so that the dog does not fear dental hygiene.
Dogs who do not tolerate brushing their teeth should chew a lot, because the saliva that is formed when chewing protects teeth and gums. The veterinarian has a special food for dogs that tend to have bad teeth. Seek advice from your veterinarian. Regular dental checks should be just as natural for dogs as they are for humans.