What Are the Dangers of Poor Oral Hygiene in Dogs?

by Rob Harris
    Keep his chompers healthy with regular brushing.

    Keep his chompers healthy with regular brushing.

    Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Just imagine what your mouth might look like if you weren't able to brush your teeth for years. Not a pretty thought, but that's part of a dog's life. Many pet owners don't pay attention to their dogs' dental hygiene until a problem arises. These problems can range from cavities to life-threatening periodontal disease. Proper dental care at home can make your dog more comfortable and healthy.


    Your dog's mouth develops many of the same problems your mouth can, including gingivitis, plaque, tartar and periodontal disease. Plaque and tartar lead to cavities or abscessed teeth if left alone, and these require your dog undergo anesthesia for dental treatment. Gingivitis is inflammation and redness in the gums, sometimes causing gum bleeding. It can lead to more serious periodontal disease, which is linked with tooth and jawbone loss as well as problems with organs such as the kidneys and heart.

    Proper Care

    Brushing your dog's teeth helps keep his mouth and body healthy. Several toothbrush options exist -- some look much like your toothbrush while others slide onto your finger. Use a vet-approved dog toothpaste, and brush your pup's teeth as often as possible; daily is best. Dental wipes also help reduce plaque and tartar. Giving your pooch dental hygiene chews scrapes away some of the plaque and tartar as well.

    Photo Credits

    • Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    While studying journalism in the Army and at the University of Missouri, Rob Harris developed a lifelong love of physical fitness and nutrition, contributing often to a dairy industry newsletter. He has also worked with and created blogs for several family businesses including a professional dog kennel and a flower shop, where he used his experience as an avid gardener to grow plants for sale.