Can Dental Care Help Your Dog Live A Longer, Healthier Life?

Mar 18, 2024

Diet, exercise, and regular vet check-ups often top the list of priorities for maintaining our dogs’ health. But can focusing on your dog’s dental health influence their longevity? Science suggests that strong dog teeth and healthy gums aren’t just about taking care of bad dog breath. Doing so affects their overall vitality and helps them live each day to the fullest.

Why Dental Health Matters for Our Dogs

Have you ever wondered why your vet checks your dog’s teeth during their annual exam? They’re not just looking to see if they’re clean and your dog’s breath doesn’t stink. The shape of your dog’s mouth can tell your vet a lot about not only their oral health, but their overall health and well-being. That can play into how they live each day and even how long they may live.

This is because dental issues in dogs can lead to systemic problems for them. Bacteria from periodontal disease don’t just stay in the mouth—they can enter the bloodstream, potentially affecting your dog’s heart, liver, and kidneys. Numerous studies have shown a direct link between oral health issues in dogs and more serious systemic diseases.

More, poor dental health can mean painful conditions that may go unnoticed. Dogs are so good to us, and are experts at hiding their discomfort. This means dental pain can significantly impact their quality of life long before we recognize there’s even a problem. If it’s been a while since you’ve paid attention to your dog’s teeth or had them checked out, they could be silently suffering from dental issues that, left unchecked, could shorten their lifespan.

By maintaining a clean mouth for our dogs, we can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, ward off periodontal disease, and even boost their overall health. Good dental health in dogs is more than just brushing; it’s about giving them a fighting chance against potential health issues down the line. Helping to prevent gum disease in dogs could be the key to unlocking a longer, happier life for your best friend.

Understanding Your Dog’s Oral Health Issues: A Peek Inside Their MouthPhoto: A Basset Hound chews on an antler bone to clean teeth.

Dogs have 42 teeth, each with its own job—from the sharp canines for tearing meat to the back molars for grinding. In fact, they tear and shred more than they actually ‘chew’. And, unlike us, their teeth aren’t just for chewing food; they’re tools for playing, exploring, and sometimes even communicating.

But even with this impressive set of chompers, dogs can run into dental problems, just like humans. Plaque and tartar are the main culprits, leading to the most common issue: periodontal disease. Think of plaque as a sticky film that, if not cleaned, hardens into tartar. This can cause the gums to become inflamed (gingivitis) and, if untreated, lead to periodontal disease, where the support structure of the bones and teeth gets damaged.

Another common problem for dogs is dental fractures. Dogs love to chew, but their enthusiasm for that hard bone or toy can sometimes lead to broken teeth. These fractures can expose the sensitive inner parts of the tooth, leading to pain and infections, and even eventual loss.

But the good news is that being proactive about your dog’s dental health can prevent these issues and keep their tails wagging. And remember, spotting these problems early can make a big difference. The next time you’re cuddling, take a moment to check out your dog’s teeth. Are they clean and white, or do you see signs of plaque and tartar? Keeping an eye on these details can help ensure your dog’s smile stays bright and healthy.

And if you think of your dog’s mouth similarly to yours, think about how often you brush your teeth. You would likely suffer from dental issues and not have healthy teeth if you went for prolonged periods without brushing or flossing. The same goes for our furry friends. Preventative care matters. In a big way.

The Silent Link: Dog Dental Health and Longevity

When we think about what keeps our dogs healthy and extends their lifespans, dental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the science is clear: there’s a profound connection between a dog’s oral health and their overall longevity.

The Mouth-Body Connection

At first glance, a dog’s mouth might seem like a small part of their overall health picture. But oral health problems, particularly periodontal disease, are alarmingly common in dogs. By the age of three, most dogs show some signs of this disease and if left untreated, can lead to more than just tooth loss or bad breath.

Periodontal disease is caused by plaque buildup, which hardens into tartar. This can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth. Bacteria from these infections can enter the bloodstream, spreading to vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, and causing significant health issues.

Several studies have shown direct correlations between periodontal disease in dogs and systemic health problems. For instance, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease have been linked to heart disease due to their ability to adhere to and damage the heart’s inner lining. Similarly, there’s evidence to suggest that chronic dental infections can contribute to liver and kidney diseases, which are major concerns for canine health and longevity.

A Practical Approach To Longevity For Dogs

So, what can you do as a dog parent? First, being aware of the importance of dental health is a great start. A holistic approach to dog care, integrating regular dental health check-ups with broader health and wellness strategies can make a world of difference. When we know better, we can do better, and understanding the silent link between dental health and longevity is a crucial step. While it’s natural to worry about our pets as they age, incorporating good dental hygiene practices is a proactive way to support their health and extend the precious years we have with them.

Brightening Those Canine Smiles: Prevention and Care

Think of dental care as a daily ritual that bonds you with your furry companion and plays a crucial role in their overall health. Create it to be part of your daily routine, just like your morning coffee or evening walk, but this time, it’s for those goofy dog grins. Here are some ways you can make dental care an easy and enjoyable part of your dog’s day:

1. Start with the Basics: Brushing

  • Begin Early: Familiarize your puppy with brushing as early as possible, but it’s never too late to start. Just like us, dogs need regular brushing to keep their teeth clean and prevent tartar buildup.
  • Choose the Right Tools: Use a dog-specific toothbrush with soft bristles and dog-friendly toothpaste (human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs).
  • Make It a Habit: Aim for daily brushing, but even a few times a week can make a significant difference. Turn it into a fun routine, rewarding them with lots of praise or a small, healthy treat afterward.

2. Professional Dental Exams

  • Annual Check-ups: Schedule a yearly dental exam with your vet. They can perform professional cleanings if needed and check for any signs of dental disease.
  • Get In The Know: Ask your vet to show you how to properly brush your dog’s teeth at home and inquire about signs of potential dental issues.

3. Recognizing Warning Signs

Be on the lookout for signs that could indicate dental problems:

  • Bad breath (more than just “dog breath”)
  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your vet as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious health issues down the line.

  1. Education and Patience
  • Learn and Adapt: Every dog is different. What works for one may not work for another, so be willing to adapt your approach based on your dog’s needs and preferences.
  • Patience Pays Off: If your dog resists brushing or dental care at first, don’t give up. Gradually acclimate them to the process, and always end on a positive note to build good associations.

5. Diet and Dental Chews

  • The Right Diet: Certain dog foods are formulated to support dental health. Discuss with your vet what might be best for your dog.
  • Chew on This: Dental chews and toys designed for dental health can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Just make sure they’re appropriate for your dog’s size and chew strength.

Bernie’s Chompers: Dental Care For Dogs You Can TrustPhoto: A Bernese Mountain puppy smiles widely as it looks off to the side.

Focusing on natural and holistic approaches to dental care that also aim to improve overall canine health is what we’re all about at Bernie’s Best. We know dogs like to chew, and delicious dental chews can be viewed as treats. If we were going to give our dogs dental chews, we wanted them to be good for them from the inside out. We looked at how our dogs’ gut and oral health would help them live each day they had with us to the fullest, and the science that would back ingredients for that.

Sweet potatoes provide dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and contributes to the mechanical cleaning of teeth in our dental chews. Additionally, sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, which the dog body converts to vitamin A. This supports vision, growth, and immune health. Sweet potatoes are full of natural compounds like carotenoids and anthocyanins. These act like a shield for your dog’s body, helping to protect the liver, reduce inflammation, and even manage blood sugar levels. They’re like a super-ingredient in your dog’s diet that keeps them healthy in several ways. They may also promote better health in your dog and extend its lifespan by preventing various chronic conditions.

Because of its antimicrobial properties, we knew coconut oil could help reduce plaque buildup and ward off tooth decay. We also love coconut oil because science finds it to be beneficial for a dog’s coat and skin because of the medium-chain fatty acids it contains.

We’re huge believers in the power of probiotics because they enhance gut health and support the immune system. Probiotics help manage inflammation and prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your dog’s mouth and their gut.

We also made sure what we put in Charming Chompers would help offer nutrient-dense support. Again, if our dogs are going to be chewing on something, we’d like it to offer more benefits than the standard ones that come with traditional chews, focusing mostly on the mechanical scraping of the dog’s teeth. That’s why we added alfalfa leaf concentrate and pumpkin, which support dog digestive health and supplement with essential nutrients for overall health. Additionally, we pack each chew with inulin for its prebiotic benefits, blueberries, green tea, and rosemary extracts for their ability to combat free radicals and support immune health, and parsley to help keep doggy breath at bay.

Taking care of your dog’s dental health is a key part of their overall care and could be key in enhancing their longevity. We’re not just looking to brighten their smiles; we want to potentially add years of joy to their lives. Charming Chompers are more than dental chews or even a treat; they’re science-backed ways we holistically created to support dogs’ nutrition, longevity, and well-being. It’s our contribution to the synergistic health of dogs, helping their longevity through science-backed nutrition. We created them first for our own dogs, and we want every dog to enjoy the best dog dental health and longevity they can.

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