6 Reasons Why Dental Health is Important for Dogs

They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. That doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from a little brushing.

I was once at a local pet store with a friend to buy a few essentials for my dog, Oscar. When she saw that a toothbrush was on my list, she actually laughed out loud. She couldn’t believe that this was: 1. actually a real product, and 2. that I brushed my dog’s teeth on a regular basis.

I was shocked as well—how could she not brush her dog’s teeth?

After taking a poll from some of my pet-owning friends, I was surprised to learn how few of them paid attention to their dog’s dental health. Only one other person brushed their dog’s teeth while the rest didn’t even think about taking their dog to what they called a “doggy dentist.”

Whenever I get the chance, I always attest to the importance of dental health for dogs. And because February is Pet Dental Health Month, this is the perfect opportunity to highlight my top six reasons for keeping your dog’s chompers looking their best.

Periodontal Disease

Just like us, dogs can get plaque buildup. Plaque turns into tartar, which soon grows bacteria. The nasty bacteria go to work on your dog’s teeth and gums, causing damage, such as tooth loss, bad breath, periodontal disease, and oral pain.

Overall Health

Dental diseases can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs. Bacteria caused by plaque doesn’t just say in your dog’s mouth—it travels down to other parts of the body. The heart and kidneys are just a few of the organs that can be affected by the bacteria caused by dental disease. As well, dogs sometimes lick stuff off the ground. If it’s something nasty and your dog suffers from infections or disease in his gums or teeth, that gross stuff is going to get absorbed into that area.

Baby Teeth

Just like humans, dogs lose their baby teeth. If you’re not taking care of your dog’s dental health, this may make the process of losing these teeth quite painful. If you take care of his teeth while he’s still a puppy, you’re helping to ensure better health throughout every stage of his life.

Professional Dental Care is Expensive

Many people let nature take its course and don’t do anything about their dog’s dental health. But let’s say a health concern arises—you’re going to have to pay for it. That could mean a professional cleaning, x-rays, tooth extraction or medications. It could also include anesthesia and antibiotics. All that care must be performed by a vet and it’s going to add up. By taking care of his teeth now, you’re setting your dog up for better health in the future.

Better Breath

Dog kisses are always sweeter with fresh breath. Besides, no one wants to get a face cleaning from a pooch whose breath smells like road kill. And less plaque means safer kisses, too. You don’t want to end up getting sick just because your dog wants to show you how much he loves you.

Everyone Loves a White Smile

Every time I bring Oscar to the vet for his check-up, the doctor is impressed with how white his teeth are. I love the feeling that I’m passing the vet’s rigorous standards of dental health. And besides, my fingers are crossed that Oscar will be discovered and offered big bucks to flash his pearly whites in a doggy toothpaste commercial.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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