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You Dogs and Their Teeth: What You Need to Know from!

Posted Feb 22 2012 1:30pm

Thanks to our friends at for this guest post on information you need to know regarding dental problems and your dog!


Caring for your dog’s teeth is just as important as grooming his fur, clipping his nails and keeping his weight in check. About 80% of dogs will show signs of gum disease and other problems by age three.

Catching dog dental problems early will help to avoid severe dental and oral diseases. The best and most affective way to do this is to have your dog’s teeth checked regularly and keeping up on brushing and cleaning at home. 

Gum disease is the most common dental problem found in dogs. However, there are a few different other diseases and teeth problems a dog may contract. Along with bad breath, rotten teeth and tooth loss, there are some less common diseases that a dog may contract from poor oral health.

Common Dental Problems:

Teeth Grinding - Dog teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common sign of oral pain. Gums are usually inflamed, so if you notice your dog is grinding his teeth, check his mouth for red, sore looking gums.


  • Teeth grinding is usually caused by misaligned teeth. If a dog’s teeth are very crooked or his jaw is out of line, he may grind his teeth to ease pain.
  • Much like humans, teeth grinding may be caused by stress. Any stressful or exciting situation may cause your dog to grind his teeth. 
  • Upset stomach or pain is a very common cause of bruxism. Along with teeth grinding, your dog may be vomiting, shaking or have a fever or appetite loss.
  • Teeth grinding may be because of pain. If your dog recently had surgery, especially in the mouth, he may grind his teeth to ease pain.

Teeth Chattering 

The most obvious reason a dog will chatter its teeth is because he is cold. But sometimes, dog teeth chattering is a sign of a behavioral or medical disorder.


  • The most serious cause of teeth chattering in dogs is usually caused by focal motor seizures. These seizures will cause short bouts of teeth chattering.
  • The size of your dog could also be a reason for teeth chattering. Small dogs are known to chatter their teeth when they are nervous or excited. There is no known reason for this, but is usually not a cause for concern.
  • If your dog has swollen or bleeding gums, he may chatter his teeth in pain. Always check your dog’s mouth if you notice he’s been chattering his teeth out of habit.

As long as your dog does not seem to be in pain, teeth chattering is not usually a health concern. However, it is important to check your dog’s teeth regularly if he has a habit of chattering his teeth to make sure they are not cracking.

Periodontal Disease 

Periodontal disease is caused by an excess build up of tartar under the gums. It creates holes, or pockets under the gums which creates room for more bacteria growth. Unfortunately, if this occurs, it is usually irreversible.


  • Periodontal disease is caused by extreme tartar build up from foods, treats and bacteria.
  • General poor health and diet may cause periodontal disease. If your dog has a weak immune system, bacteria may easily make its way into the gums and bloodstream. Excess amounts of sugary, fatty human foods may cause periodontal disease faster than regular dog foods.
  • Excessive grooming. This is a behavioral disorder. If your dog constantly grooms his fur, it may become caught in his teeth and eventually lead to periodontal disease.
  • Neglected oral care. If your dog’s teeth are neglected for a long period of time, periodontal disease may occur. Tooth loss, abscesses and infection may lead to periodontal disease if left untreated.

Rotten Teeth

Rotten teeth can be described a few different ways. Some people describe rotten teeth as teeth with extreme plaque build up. Actual rotten teeth are teeth that are eroded and in extremely bad condition. Usually these teeth need to be medically removed. Rotten teeth can cause gum and mouth infections, which can transfer to vital organs.


  • The most obvious case for rotten teeth is poor oral hygiene
  • Sometimes age can play a factor in rotten teeth, as older teeth can be difficult to clean
  • Dogs with lower immune systems can be more vulnerable to bacteria infections in the gums, which can cause rotten teeth.
  • If you suspect your dog may have any type of dental problem, it is important to talk to your veterinarian to have proper diagnosis and treatment administered. Never leave dental problems unattended, as they may lead to other serious infections in the body. 

For more information about your dog’s teeth, how to properly clean your dog’s teeth, having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned and more, visit  


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