A disease-free mouth is one of the cornerstones of good health and has a positive influence on your dog’s longevity. Pain and discomfort from from rotten teeth and diseased gums completely aside, bacteria from periodontal infection can spread throughout the entire body via the blood stream and damage vital organs. Most commonly affected are liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs.
It’s very important to keep a dog’s teeth clean, the gums conditioned and free of inflammation. Just like in humans, genetics play a large role in how much (or how little) help an individual dog may need with keeping teeth clean. Toy breeds with their tiny jaws and crowded teeth are especially vulnerable.
Diligent dental care at home can greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for professional teeth cleaning performed under anesthesia, especially when you are not feeding commercial dry food and treats high in starches and sugars.
If you haven’t spent much thought about your dog’s dental health in the past, this is the time to do it – many vet offices offer a discount throughout the month of February, and some pet insurances offer partial reimbursements for dental cleaning.