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Dogs can suffer many dental diseases, but most are caused by the build-up of food particles and plaque formation on the teeth and gums, and could be prevented with proper oral hygiene. One of the most severe pathologies is periodontitis, whose symptoms include a variety of infections affecting the gums and the bone structure supporting the teeth. 

How does the dog get infected?

Left-over food particles feed the bacteria naturally present in dogs’ mouths. When food debris builds up, bacteria multiplies and accumulates in the form of plaque. When saliva comes into contact with this plaque build-up, tooth enamel is damaged and tartar starts to appear. Bacteria continues to reproduce and gets below the gums. Gum inflammation leads to gingivitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated properly, the inflammation of the gums reaches the muscular and bony structures that support the teeth, leading to periodontitis.

Periodontitis progresses slowly, so you should frequently check your pet’s mouth and closely monitor the first signs of the disease. Common symptoms are bad breath or halitosis, large quantities of tartar, inflamed and/or bleeding gums, mouth abscesses or difficulty chewing (which is related to another symptom: appetite loss).

If undetected, periodontitis affects the nerves and can lead to tooth loss, above all in adult and senior dogs. If the infection progresses until reaching the bloodstream, it can seriously affect different organs and in some cases can be fatal.

To make a correct diagnosis, you must take your dog to the vet for relevant examinations and tests.  Treatment for periodontitis detected early is usually based on administering antibiotics to control the bacteria spreading throughout the body. Tartar can also be removed from the teeth through ultrasonic descaling.

To prevent this disease, you must adopt a proper, regular oral hygiene routine for your dog, brushing its teeth frequently to prevent the build-up of food particles between the teeth and gums.

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