Be it a man or a dog, toothache is an issue for all, and it can be very painful. Rotten teeth in dogs not only cause discomfort but also lead to severe health complications. For this reason, knowing the signs, effects, and proper treatment of rotten teeth is essential to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Signs of Tooth Decay and Rotten Teeth in Dogs
Dental problems are common in dogs aged four and above. In fact, signs of tooth decay can start showing when a dog reaches the age of two. Here are the common signs of teeth problems in dogs.
- Bad Breath
Bad breath is the most common sign of rotten teeth. Bacteria trapped in between teeth and the gum line causes gingivitis and infection, which results in bad breath.
Dogs do not really have fresh-smelling breath. But if your dog has abnormally bad breath – one that smells sour, sweet, or acrid – he may have more serious health problems.
- Plaque build-up
When food particles and saliva mix together, they form plaque and sticks to the teeth. If the plaque remains in the teeth, they form tartar or calculus, which often hides infection. The calculus is what gives the appearance of rotten teeth in dogs.
When tartar and bacteria start building up in between the teeth and under the gum line, the gums get inflamed and start bleeding. This disease is called gingivitis and it can lead to rotten teeth in dogs.
- Swollen Jaw
Abscess and swollen jaw are signs of dental infection and rotten teeth in dogs. These things happen when infection gathers around the tooth.
You may see a lump on his upper or lower jaw and under his chin. When the lump or abscess becomes too big, causing it to burst and excrete yellowish pus.
- Chewing Problems
If your dog has rotten teeth, he tends to feel pain or discomfort when chewing. You may notice him refusing to chew his food or gulping it at the moments he picks it up with his mouth.
Serious Health Problems Caused by Rotten Teeth in Dogs
Teeth problems are one of the most overlooked health issues in dogs. Sadly, it can lead to different serious illnesses that can put your dog’s life in danger.
Without proper treatment, dogs with rotten teeth may suffer from the following illnesses.
- Bacterial endocarditis (Heart valve infection)
- Blood infection (Sepsis)
- Liver abscess
Bacteria in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream. Mouth bacteria can settle on the heart valves and they can cause permanent damage to the heart tissue, which can eventually lead to heart failure.
Rotten teeth in dogs can also cause dogs to suffer from sepsis or blood infection. When the bacteria get into the bloodstream, it can travel to organs where the blood goes including internal organs such as the liver, intestine, heart, and more.
In severe cases, rotten teeth in dogs can result in bone infection or osteomyelitis in the upper or lower jaw. Severe tooth decay can cause the bones to break and when this happens, the bacteria can invade the bone, leading to osteomyelitis.
Rotten Teeth in Dogs: The Treatment
You must take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect that he has rotten teeth. It is important to schedule teeth cleaning appointment with the vet to determine the severity of your dog’s dental problems.
Your dog will undergo a blood test to see if there is infection spreading to his organs or if he is fit to be put under general anesthesia. The veterinarian may also take radiographs of your pet’s jaws to assess the damage to your dog’s teeth and jaws, and check if there are signs of bone deterioration.
During the teeth cleaning session, plaque and tartar are removed. Areas around the gum line will also be cleaned to stop or prevent periodontal diseases. The veterinarian may also need to extract some of your pet’s teeth if it is necessary.
Preventing Rotten Teeth in Dogs
While dogs do not really brush their teeth like humans, there are different ways to prevent tooth decay in your dog, including the following.
- Let your pet chew toys.
- Opt for hard kibble instead of wet food.
- Brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week.
- Give your dog dental treats weekly.
Rotten teeth present more serious health problems than you think. For this reason, cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly is a must.