As we head into Dental Awareness Time, it is the right time to offer up some information about your dog’s teeth and how they compare or are different from humans
- Puppies have 28 baby (deciduous) teeth – human babies only 20
- Dogs have 42 adult (permanent) teeth – humans only have 32
- Puppies start to lose their baby teeth around 12 weeks old and should be all done by four months
- If adult teeth come in next to the puppy teeth, it is best to have them removed to avoid pushing the adults out of place or crowding
- Just like people if a dog loses an adult tooth, it is missing forever… no extras.
- It is rare for dogs to get caries (or cavities), but on the odd occasion, they do it can be treated by a pet dentist and filled in.
- Dogs do however get loose or damaged teeth, and those are removed to stop the discomfort
- Little dogs usually have different dental issues than big dogs.
- Little dogs are prone to have smaller mouths with less space and crowding. This leads to more issues with plaque, tartar, and build up. Also gum issues and loss of teeth.
- Big dogs usually have more traumatic mouth issues such as fractured teeth and worn surfaces
- Dogs have a large upper middle tooth that they use for crushing and chewing. The carnassial tooth has a look as it is very different from our premolars.
- Dogs may develop mouth tumours as can people though it is not very common. They can be both malignant or benign.
- Brushing your dog’s teeth is a great idea. Just as with children though you must get them used to it.
In all cases, it is best to routinely investigate your dog’s mouth to look for any areas of issues or concern and make sure to seek out the veterinary team for us to help you out.
Written by: Lisa Clifford, RVT