The In’s and Out’s of Tartar and What it does to our Dogs!

The In’s and Out’s of Tartar and What it does to our Dogs! 

What exactly is plaque and tartar? 

Have you ever wondered what that discoloured, porous material on your dogs’ teeth actually is? Plaque is a microbial and dental biofilm. It is a soft, sticky film that builds up on our teeth as well as our dogs! When saliva, food, and fluids combine they produce bacteria deposits, which collect on the teeth. Within 24 to 72 hours, plaque will harden into tartar and at that point becomes much more challenging to remove

dog teeth cleaning

What causes plaque and tartar? 

When saliva, food, and fluids combine in your dog’s mouth, the mouth becomes an environment that allows bacteria to grow which then collects on the teeth. Tartar can form on the teeth above and underneath the gum line. 

What are some conditions that are related to plaque? 

Two of the most common issues that come with dirty teeth are inflamed gums, which can also be referred to as ‘gingivitis’ or ‘recessed gums’ and halitosis which is commonly known as bad breath. 

At K9 Gentle Dental, we do not diagnose anything we observe in the mouth and are not able to identify gingivitis or any type of periodontal disease, but we can definitely point out when your pup has angry, recessed gums which may be a sign of gingivitis. When tartar sits on the teeth for too long, it begins to move into/under your dog’s gumline which causes the red and recessed gums. 

dog tooth cleaning

While “doggie breath” is a term we’re all familiar with as dog owners, bad breath can easily get out of hand for your pup. If there is a foul, sour odour coming from your dog’s mouth, we recommend checking in with your veterinarian as there may be underlying issues in your dog’s mouth that can not be seen with the naked eye. 

What can we do about tartar? 

Regular teeth brushing daily at home helps remove the soft plaque off the teeth before it hardens which decreases the amount of tartar that solidifies on your dog’s teeth. When there is copious amounts of tartar on the teeth, it may be uncomfortable for your pup. We recommend not only brushing the teeth, but also their gumline! Your pups gums need gentle stimulation. Chewing will help to stimulate the gums however the inclusion of brushing will ensure all areas are stimulated

dog dental cleaning

Teeth cleanings remove the tartar on the inside and outside surfaces of the teeth. When the tartar is removed, it gives us as owners a clean slate to work with in regards to brushing. This when a regular brushing routine will slow down new build up and keep your dogs breath fresher for longer. 

Diet can also play a large part in plaque accumulation for our doggies as it does with humans. K9 Gentle Dental is considered a holistic company and we have seen the best results when pups are eating raw or dehydrated food as there are less preservatives and starches in that diet. We understand that this type of diet might not be affordable for all people, and that’s okay! 

Natural chews, such as bully sticks, yak chews and raw bones, help tremendously with soft plaque and knocking off larger chunks of tartar. We advise that you watch your pup while chewing to ensure they can enjoy their food safely! Some dogs really “put their back” into chewing and for those types of dogs, we’d recommend “softer” or less dense chews so the likelihood of chipping or badly breaking their teeth is lower. Don’t forget that chipped, worn down teeth and slightly broken teeth in a doggie is normal! It’s just a sign they’re putting their teeth to good use. We would recommend you speak to your vet about concerns with broken or chipped teeth.

dog dental care
Shown above is a dog who clearly loves chewing! The tips of their teeth are all worn down with use.

Please keep brushing out there and we’ll see you and your pups for their cleaning soon.

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