Tooth Infections in Dogs

Tooth infections are among the most common oral problems in dogs along periodontal disease. The infections are due to the bacteria that gather near the gum line or on the surface of the tooth, leading to infections and cavities. Tooth infections may be treated, but most commonly the tooth will need an extraction. Tooth infections can be avoided if the dog has a daily routine for oral hygiene.

Dog Tooth Infections Causes

The infectious agents that lead to tooth infections are typically bacteria that may be found in the dog’s mouth. Infections are also common when the dog has a gum disease.

The infections may also occur when the dog has an injury in the mouth.

Symptoms of Tooth Infections in Dogs

Tooth Infections in Dogs will be manifested through:

  • Severe pain and pawing of the face or mouth
  • Swelling of the gums and possibly one side of the face
  • The gums may appear red (usually they are pink in color)
  • Puss accumulation near the gum line, which will cause the area to become white
  • Constant sneezing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Whining
  • Lethargy

Diagnosis for Tooth Infections

A tooth infection can be detected by performing an exam of the dog’s mouth. X-rays may be performed to establish if the infection originates at the root of the tooth.

Treating an Infection of the Tooth

The first step in treating a tooth infection is administering an antibiotic. This is recommended even if the vet decides that tooth extraction is the only solution, as the tooth cannot be extracted if there is an infection present. The infection can easily enter the blood flow and this should be avoided.

After the infection is eliminated, the vet may examine the dog’s mouth and establish the best course of treatment.

Fillings and tooth treatment is uncommon in canines, but the vet may decide to administer these to prevent the loss of the tooth. However, even with treatment, the infection may reappear.

In some cases, the only solution is the extraction of the tooth. However, the vet should establish if the neighboring teeth are also affected.

Preventing Tooth Infections in Dogs

Tooth infections and gum disease in dogs may often be prevented with a proper oral hygiene which consists of:

  • Daily teeth brushing, which removes plaque and prevents the development of bacteria that may gather in the dog’s mouth; this should be done with a kids sized dental brush and pet toothpaste
  • Mouth rinses, which can be done with tea (i.e. chamomile tea) or special dog mouth rinse
  • Administration of dry treats, which can perform a cleaning of the surface of teeth, removing plaque
  • A diet consisting of kibble, which can also clean the teeth
  • The use of chew toys, which will strengthen the dog’s teeth and clean the plaque

You should also avoid giving your dog bones or other hard toys that can cause injuries in his mouth, which can lead to infections.