Ignoring doggie bad breath can put Fluffy in peril

Anke Neustadt
It's a good idea to brush Fluffy's teeth periodically. Try using a finger brush from the pet store and later a doggie toothbrush.

Question: I know people who brush their dogs teeth, but when it comes down to it, how important is keeping my dog’s teeth cleaned?

Answer: The short answer is: It’s pretty important.

Most of us have encountered a dog with really bad breath. The cause of this is always some level of periodontal disease, which ultimately can cause some serious health issues for your dog, just like it can for us. Untreated dental disease not only causes tooth loss, it can lead to painful abscesses and systemic infections throughout your dog’s body. Bacteria from bad teeth winds up in Fluffy’s bloodstream and can affect her organs in a dire way.

Gregg Flowers

Every tissue and organ that has a blood supply – the lungs, the brain, the heart, her muscles, etc. – is potentially at risk from bacterial infection spread by blood. If tooth bacteria in her bloodstream gains access to her heart, this can be a serious problem. A condition known as “bacterial endocarditis” (infection of the heart valves) can ensue and is usually fatal.

Additionally, if a dog has periodontal disease, over time, the bacteria in her saliva will produce toxins that are easily ingested when she swallows. This again becomes a systemic issue and certainly shortens her life. So many dog owners don’t pay too much attention to their dog’s dental health.


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