Home vs. Professional Canine Teeth Cleaning

Canine teeth cleaning is an important process in maintaining proper health and well-being of your dog. Keeping a dog's teeth clean not only prevents bad breath and unwanted tooth and gum disease, but it can also prevent more serious health risks. When bacteria develops and grows in the mouth, it can enter the bloodstream, potentially causing infection of the major organs. Canine oral disease is common, but can be easily prevented. Professional and home dental care programs can be implemented to ensure clean teeth, healthy gums and prevention of serious side effects.

Plaque, Tartar and Periodontal Disease

Cavities are rare for dogs, but plaque can build from food and bacteria collecting along the gumlines. If plaque is not removed using a home care or professional dental routine, it can quickly form tartar which adheres strongly to the teeth. Tartar can cause inflammation and gingivitis, leading to bad breath, abscesses, and pain. Tartar may form pockets in the gums which creates even more potential for bacterial growth. This damage, considered irreversible, is called periodontal disease and may cause loose teeth, bone loss and infection in the heart valves, liver or kidneys. While plaque can be removed easily with brushing and other means, tartar can only be removed during a professional oral examination using specific dental tools.

Prevention with Home Dental Care

Once a routine is established, home dental care for your dog can be easily implemented. Daily brushing and regular inspection of your dog's mouth will ensure less plaque buildup and an awareness of the condition of the dog's teeth and gums. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for dogs at a minimum of every other day. Toothbrushes with ultra-soft bristles are available, as are brushes that fit over your finger. Pads and sponges may also be of benefit. Regularly inspect the dog's mouth by lifting up the side flaps and examining the condition of the teeth and gums. Remove any buildup of food particles immediately. Select toys, treats and chews that are designed to assist in plaque removal. Studies show that dry kibble is also more effective at reducing the amount of plaque buildup on the teeth.

Prevention with Professional Canine Teeth Cleaning

Upon implementing a routine home dental care program for your dog, you'll want to be sure to start with clean, healthy teeth. Plaque can be removed at home, but tartar must be removed by a procedure known as scaling, for which anesthetization is necessary. Scaling uses ultrasonic tools to remove tartar that has formed above and below the gumlines. Solution is used to indicate all areas affected. Polishing the teeth will then remove any microscopic scratches, offering less opportunity for bacteria to form and grow. A dental agent may then be applied to slow the potential for plaque buildup. After a thorough cleaning and polish, routine maintenance by a professional should be performed once per year, in addition to regular, daily home teeth care.