I caught up with my friend, California veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney, to ask him a few questions about canine dental care.
NKP: How can brushing a dog's teeth (or otherwise paying attention to your dog's dental health) contribute to his longevity?
PM: Brushing a dog's teeth can significantly contribute to his longevity, as the simple action of removing bacteria from the tooth surface can reduce the likelihood that the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other internal organ systems will be negatively impacted by infection and inflammation.
PM: It's hard to say how much time you can potentially add to a dog’s life by regularly providing home dental care. As some dogs never have any attention paid to their periodontal health and live well into their senior years, it's not as though the dedication to regular dental care will definitively result in longevity. Yet, there's a higher likelihood that the internal organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc.) will stay healthier when an owner provides periodontal care to his canine companion.
PM: When a dog’s dental hygiene is ignored, a variety of ailments can develop inside the mouth including gingivitis (gum inflammation), gingival recession (receding of the gums away from the diseased tooth), periodontal ligament damage (which weakens the attachment of the tooth to the socket in the alveolar bone), bad breath (from bacterial proliferation), and even oral cavity bleeding. The internal organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and others can also be negatively impacted when dental hygiene is ignored.
PM: People can best take care of their dogs dental disease by scheduling an examination with their veterinarian. Based on the dog’s current degree of periodontal disease, the most appropriate plan for cleaning can be recommended.
The most thorough type of cleaning occurs under anesthesia, as the veterinarian is able to scale under the gumline, take x-rays (an important means of assessing what occurs under the gumline that is invisible to the eye), and even extract any disease teeth.
If a dog’s mouth is a relatively clean slate, then daily rushing with a soft bristle brush with a pet-appropriate tooth product (gel, liquid, paste, etc.) is very doable means of preventing periodontal disease.
Not making the time to provide your dog with regular dental care actually amounts to neglect, as periodontal disease is completely preventable and has potentially life-threatening consequences when allowed to develop and progress.
Catch up with Dr. Patrick Mahaney and his dog, Cardiff, on Facebook and Twitter!
This post is sponsored byTELO-20 for Dogs, the longevity supplement that lengthens your dog’s telomeres, extending the life of his cells at the DNA level.
I take the human version of this canine chew, TELO-100, and give my dogs TELO-20 for Dogs every day. Check out my giveaway page for a chance to win both products (and other great stuff)!