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Caring For Your Dog's Teeth

The most common tooth and gum disorder in your pet can appear as early as four months of age. An inflammation around the teeth and gums called 'tartar' is actually a buildup of hard mineral deposits. It builds up very slowly, becoming stained with hard deposits on the sides of the teeth. This can leave your pet's gums susceptible to infection and even loss of teeth.

The initial indication of tartar is your pet's persistent bad breath. The inflammation around the gums will initially appear as red lines between the teeth and gums. A poor diet is usually the cause of a tartar buildup, which is why your dog should be given foods that require chewing to keep the food buildup cleaned out with the flow of saliva.

If your dog is in the beginning stages of tartar and gum inflammation, a change of diet may help. However, if tartar is present, a thorough cleaning is in order by your veterinarian.

You can maintain your dog's healthy mouth by routinely cleaning their teeth, either by a vet every year, or doing it yourself. You'll know what your dog will tolerate. However, most dogs are very amiable to having their teeth brushed. If you are able, use a very soft toothbrush with a paste made of baking soda and salt. Regular toothpaste is not recommended, as the strong tastes are usually rejected by dogs. You might want to concentrate on one or two teeth at a time. Clean their teeth every one to six months.

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