February 24, 2014 Photos by: ©iStock.com/phviola
Ick! It’s gross, but you can’t hide from it – tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth can be a serious issue
It’s not pretty but we’ve got to talk about it – tartar buildup on dog’s teeth. It’s that nasty brown stain you see when your dog smiles, pants or yawns really wide. It doesn’t take long to form. In fact, just a couple of hours after your dog eats, tartar gets to work and that gummy gunk starts forming on teeth. It’s your job, as a pet parent, to take care of your dog’s dental health… and that means taking care of tartar before it becomes a problem.
How Tartar Works
Tartar is a devious little bugger! It doesn’t start out as tartar. It first makes an appearance as plaque, which begins to form hours after a dog eats. It combines with the salts that are found in saliva. As it builds up and hardens, that’s when plaque turns into tartar. Once tartar forms, dental problems and gum disease can’t be too far behind.
What’s The Big Deal?
Just like with our teeth, plaque and tartar can wreak on a dog’s mouth. All those bacteria growing are a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. The aftermath could result in gingivitis, periodontal disease, abscesses or lost teeth.
Tartar likes to be pushy, too. As it builds up along the gum line, it will push the gums away from the teeth. This exposes the roots of the teeth, which are no longer covered by enamel. Because the roots are no longer protected, it leaves them open to sensitivities, causing your dog pain and discomfort.
But tartar isn’t content with just hanging around in your dog’s mouth. Nope, it needs to explore your dog’s body. Bacteria hitch a ride in the bloodstream and make its way to the heart and kidneys. And you know that the outcome will never be good in a situation like this!
What Can You Do About It?
Tartar doesn’t have to get the upper hand in your dog’s mouth. Here’s what you can do to keep tartar at bay:
- You can brush your dog’s teeth on a daily or weekly basis.
- You can give your dog dental treats and toys to chew on.
- There are special dog foods that are formulated to help break up tartar and plaque.
- Real bones are ideal for scraping off soft plaque deposits on dog teeth
- Your dentist can give your dog a professional cleaning. Costs will depend on the severity of plaque and tartar buildup.
We’d like to hear about your experience with tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. Please leave your comments in the section provided below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of Our Site , is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).