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Does a dog need its teeth brushed?

Updated on February 18, 2012

For millions of years dogs have lived and survived in the wild without humans. These animals have existed without pet owners, without animal behaviorists, groomers, vets and canine dentists.  This argument would make skeptics scoff at the idea of brushing the dog’s teeth. Do you believe the same way too? Do you think it is not necessary to brush the dog’s teeth? Dogs that live in the wild have to hunt to survive. Not only is the meat of the prey eaten. The bones are gnawed as well. Dogs in the wild spend a great deal of time chewing fresh bones of prey and in doing so keep the teeth and the gums healthy. Modern day dogs don’t need to hunt as daily rations of easy to eat foods are provided by the owners. While dogs in the wild would unknowingly clean their teeth, present day dogs would need the teeth cleaned by the owners. Brushing the pet’s teeth can be a challenging more so if the dog would resist but this chore has lots of benefits not only for the dog but for the human family as well.

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Maintaining good oral hygiene of the dog

Dogs are indiscriminate eaters. Well fed pets would not pass up the chance to eat unearthed rotting animals and spoiled food from the trash. The way dogs eat feces you would think that poops are exotic delicacies. It is not surprising if dog owners would gag at the dog’s horrible breath. Tooth brushing will maintain the good oral hygiene of the pet.

Prevention of dental and periodontal diseases

Although cavities are not common in dogs, some individuals would suffer from toothaches too. As with humans, dental diseases can be prevented by tooth brushing. The biggest benefit of brushing the dog’s teeth is the prevention of periodontal diseases as it prevents the buildup of tartar.   Gum problems start from the formation of plaque. The bacteria in the dog’s mouth plus mucus and other particles will form a sticky film at the gum line. Plaques have to be removed otherwise it would harden and form into gum disease causing tartar. A simple gum inflammation left untreated can severely damage the tissues and the bone that supports the teeth. The oral infection can enter the bloodstream and lead to life threatening kidney and heart diseases.

Savings for the dog owner

Regular tooth brushing will prevent the formation of tartar. As such costly vet visits would not be necessary. A dog owner would not spend a lot for routine dental cleaning but scaling or root planning, the procedure for the removal of tartar will be costly. For this procedure the dog has to be under general anesthesia. For serious cases, a course of antibiotic will be necessary. Teeth extraction may be necessary as well. Blood work will be taken to rule out the spread of infection into the blood stream. Needless to say, these costly treatments can be avoided if the dog’s teeth are regularly brushed.

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    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      Voted UP! I watched all of your videos and it was most helpful!

    • erag2011 profile image

      erag2011 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good topic. Definitely agree as a vet. So many anaesthesias, extractions and related diseases that could be avoided.