The teeth of dogs and cats are arranged in two dental arches, the upper and lower. According to its structure, four types of teeth are distinguished: incisors, canines, premolars and molars.
The puppies lack teeth in their first three weeks of life, between 3 and 6 weeks of life the incisors, canines and premolars emerge. There are no deciduous molars ("baby teeth").
Between 3 and 7 months of life the baby teeth are replaced by the permanent ones. The definitive dentition in dogs consists of forty-two pieces placed 20 in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower jaw. Cats have "only" 30 teeth.
In most adult dogs we can see an accumulation of tartar (formed by bacteria) in the teeth that can cause from a mild gingivitis to a more severe periodontal disease, even losing the tooth, these bacteria can also spread to other organs (heart, liver, lungs and kidneys) through the bloodstream.
The accumulation of tartar occurs right after eating, the bacteria adhere on the tooth surface. These bacteria can be removed by brushing the teeth (at least once a week), chewing or by physical abrasion. The plaque formed by bacteria that is not removed is mineralized into tartar and can only be removed by professional cleaning at the veterinarian.
Professional dental cleaning consists of the removal of tartar, smoothing and polishing the tooth surface and avoiding roughness that favors the appearance of tartar again. In our veterinary clinic we use an ultrasonic device for its elimination, in many cases the extraction of dental pieces is necessary.
All dogs can suffer from periodontal disease. The retained baby teeth, very soft diets and teeth in bad position are some examples of conditions that favor their development.
Symptoms of periodontal disease:
Halitosis (bad breath)
Edges of reddened gums
Recoil of the gums that leaves exposed to the roots of the teeth.
To prevent the appearance of tartar we can brush our pet's teeth at least once a week, use a special fluoride in drinking water, toys and teethers (once or twice a week) and keep in mind that we feed our pet with a very soft diet is more predisposed to suffer periodontal disease, so it is best to eat