The Link Between Canine Dental Health and Overall Wellness

Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have some form of periodontal disease. Poor oral health in your canine companion can have a profound impact on their overall wellbeing. Their gums and tongues are so well connected with blood vessels, it’s literally a superhighway to all organs. So, it’s not surprising that oral infections can potentially lead to broader health issues.

The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is responsible for the chronic form of periodontitis (gum disease) has been found to be a main culprit in causing pancreatic cancer in dogs. It can also have a detrimental effect on the organs of the body, even causing them to shut down.

This bacteria can move from the mouth to the brain (the superhighway), where it can inflict damage on nerve cells, potentially leading to dementia. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Very recently, actually while writing this, a new study came out that links bacteria found in the mouth (Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of the most common types of oral bacteria) with colorectal cancer. This bacteria, which causes plaque and gum disease, survives the stomach and reaches the colon!

Recognising the importance of oral health in dogs, it becomes crucial for owners to be proactive. Signs of disease may not always be evident and your furry friend could be experiencing pain without showing it.

The good news is that preventive measures can be implemented pretty easily 🙂

Here’re some suggestions:

Hygiene check-ups

Make sure to have your dog’s teeth and gums examined annually by the vet. Just so you know, their gums should have a healthy salmon colour (some dogs might have black spots too); there shouldn’t be any unpleasant odour.

Feed a fresh diet for a healthy oral microbiome

Feeding a fresh diet promotes a healthy oral microbiome. Numerous studies demonstrate that fresh food positively influences the microbiome, enhancing microbial diversity. We understand that microbial diversity is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment. Microbes and hosts coexist, with microbes aiding the host in exchange for accommodation and sustenance. Dysbiosis, resulting from this symbiotic relationship going awry, can lead to various disorders.

Provide ‘hassle factor’

Many guardians choose kibble with the belief that it helps remove tartar from teeth. Kibble is typically high in carbohydrates; so it’s perhaps the same as us using a packet of crisps to brush our teeth! Hassle factor is a natural and important way for dogs to remove plaque. But it makes sense to use something a little more resilient and substantial. Kibble disintegrates before it can do any meaningful work at all, as well as adding to the source of the problem by feeding sugars to the harmful bacteria.

Ways that we can provide this for our dogs:

Chew on raw bones

Never cooked and always supervised. Dr Conor Brady has a perfect blog on How to Safely Feed a Dog Bones – please do not attempt to feed before first reading this excellent guidance!!!

Offer healthy treats

Select treats that provide abrasion such as single ingredient natural chews (never rawhide, high-carb treats or treats sprayed or made with nasties). We have a range of ethically sourced, responsibly produced and free-range treats coming soon… watch this space! 🙂

Brush their teeth

If your dog allows it, this is actually a superbly effective way of cleaning their teeth. You can also get an ultrasonic toothbrush like Emmipet to remove plaque (again if your dog will tolerate this!)

Use a supplement

LUCAA+ Pet Probiotic Dental care is a mouth spray that uses probiotics to restore a healthy microbiome in your dog’s mouth, they clean teeth at a microbial level.

Canident uses seaweed to prevent the build up of plaque and loosen any already existing tartar.

I hope this article helps. You can get in touch if you would like to chat about your dog’s teeth and remember to check those teeth and their breath weekly!

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