How can you tell if a dog’s teeth are unhealthy?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

There are several signs that can indicate if a dog’s teeth are unhealthy. It’s important to pay attention to these signs as dental care is crucial for a dog’s overall health and well-being. Here are some things to look out for:

1. Bad breath: Just like humans, dogs can have bad breath from time to time. However, if your dog’s breath consistently smells foul, it may be a sign of dental issues such as gum disease or tooth decay. This can be a clear indicator that their teeth need attention.

2. Changes in eating habits: If you notice that your dog is having difficulty eating, chewing on one side of their mouth, or avoiding hard food altogether, it could be a sign of dental pain or discomfort. Dental problems may cause them to change their eating habits to avoid aggravating their teeth.

3. Yellow or brown teeth: Healthy dog teeth should be clean and white. If you notice that your dog’s teeth have yellow or brown discoloration, it could be a sign of tartar buildup. Tartar is hardened plaque that can lead to dental problems if not addressed.

4. Swollen or bleeding gums: Healthy gums should be pink and firm. If you notice that your dog’s gums are swollen, red, or bleeding, it could be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can cause pain and discomfort, leading to further dental issues if left untreated.

5. Growths on the gums: If you spot any unusual growths or masses on your dog’s gums, it’s essential to have them checked by a veterinarian. These growths could be a sign of oral tumors or other serious dental conditions that require immediate attention.

6. Excessive drooling: While some dogs naturally drool more than others, excessive drooling can be a sign of dental problems. If you notice that your dog is drooling more than usual, it could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, or an oral infection.

7. Pawing at their mouth: If your dog is frequently pawing at their mouth or rubbing their face against furniture or floors, it may be a sign of dental discomfort. Dogs may exhibit this behavior to alleviate pain or irritation caused by dental issues.

Please note that these signs are not exclusive to dental problems and can sometimes indicate other health issues. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if you suspect your dog has dental problems.

I have personally experienced some of these signs with my own dog. A few years ago, I noticed that my dog’s breath was consistently foul, even after regular teeth brushing. I also observed that she had difficulty chewing on her favorite treats and seemed to avoid hard food altogether. Concerned about her oral health, I took her to the veterinarian, who confirmed that she had severe tartar buildup and gum disease.

The veterinarian performed a dental cleaning under anesthesia, which involved removing the tartar, scaling the teeth, and addressing any underlying dental issues. After the procedure, my dog’s breath improved, and she seemed much more comfortable while eating. Since then, I have been more mindful of her dental care, regularly brushing her teeth and providing dental chews to maintain her oral health.

It’s essential to pay attention to signs that may indicate dental problems in dogs. Bad breath, changes in eating habits, discoloration of teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, growths on the gums, excessive drooling, and pawing at their mouth are all signs that your dog may need dental care. Regular dental check-ups and proper dental hygiene can help prevent dental issues and ensure your dog’s overall health and well-being.