For a large part of the human population, cleaning of their pet’s teeth is considered a luxury. It’s assumed that toys and treats can replace the need for regularly scheduled & routine maintenance, performed by a veterinary professional.
Bone loss is something that nobody considers when they think about dental health. Pet owners consider cavities as the biggest threat to their pets, since cavities are the biggest threat to their own mouths. However, your pet’s diet and your diet are different, and since your pet probably is not brushing regularly, their dental challenges will be different too.
In the words of Doc Hodges, “Many dogs will end up with a cup of healthy teeth”, since most of the real risk to dogs is not cavities, but instead, bone loss.
Periodontal disease comes in many forms, that are ALL preventable, through routine maintenance. Pet teeth are very strong and come with an exceptional layer of enamel. This enamel is great at preventing decay, but does nothing to prevent bacteria from infecting the mouth, and eating away at the bone. After a dozen or so years of neglect, the bone will have been eaten away from the teeth. That is why dog teeth fall out – bone loss, due to bacterial infection.
Gingivitis is the precursor to periodontitis, which is the precursor to bone loss. The bacteria that cause gingivitis are the same that eat away at the bone under the gums.
Humans fight gingivitis by brushing regularly. However, brushing your dog’s teeth may be more difficult, unless it is started at a very young age. Therefore, the best way for most pet owners to combat gingivitis and potential bone loss is to visit a veterinarian who specializes in dental care.