Time to talk teeth, before February is over because it’s National Pet Dental Month.
Why are your Morkie’s teeth so important? Like you, she gets just one adult set, and she needs them to eat properly, to grind and tear her food for good digestion.
And also like you, your Morkie can suffer from cavities and painful abscesses. More serious dental problems like gum disease can lead to chronic pain, missing teeth, eroded gums and even bone loss.
Signs of dental distress
- stinky dog breath
- red swollen gums
- bleeding gums
Dogs can’t tell us they have a toothache, so it can be hard to spot dental disease until it’s quite advanced.
It’s worse than just doggy breath
Left untreated, dental disease can lead to devastating results. Dogs with unchecked gum inflammation may be at higher risk for heart, kidney, and liver disease. That’s because bacteria from the mouth constantly enters the blood stream and can cling to to the arteries surrounding the heart and other organs.
A big problem for small dogs
Gum disease is 5X more common in dogs that humans. One reason why is because a dog’s mouth is much more alkaline than ours, which encourages plaque to form quickly.
And like their parent Yorkie and Maltese dogs, Morkies have very small jaws, with teeth very close together, often jammed in. That gives food particles good hiding places to turn into bacteria, tartar and plaque.
Stop the cycle before it begins
As you can see from the diagram below, it’s easy to stop plaque, tartar and gum disease and tooth decay with regular brushing.
As the teeth grind up food, debris accumulates on the tooth surface and attracts bacteria. This build up of food fragments and bacteria is called plaque. Plaque can be brushed away when it’s done regularly.
But if plaque isn’t brushed away, mineral deposits cause it to harden on the teeth. This is called tartar. Tarter can be spotted as dark yellow or brown accumulations on the teeth. It’s very difficult to remove; in fact, your Vet must remove it with dental treatment. If left untreated, plaque can lead to damage of the gums (gingivitis) or the jawbones and teeth (periodontitis).
Next to ear problems tartar and gingivitis are the most common reasons dogs are seen by Veterinarians.
Your goal is to clean the plaque off your dog’s teeth, so that it doesn’t build up and become tartar. Daily brushing will do the trick!