Proper dental hygiene can keep your pet from serious dental and systematic diseases.

Poor dental care can lead to secondary health issues.

This includes cardiopulmonary, kidney, or liver diseases. 

Bad breath, inflammation, jaw fractures, and pain are consequences of bad teeth in dogs.

As a pet owner, you must know the importance of dental care.

Let’s learn more about the side effects of bad teeth in dogs!

Understanding Dental Disease in Dogs

  • Overview of Dental Disease
  • Common Signs of Dental Disease

Overview of Dental Disease

Periodontal diseases are frequently seen in veterinary medicine.

The average prevalence is from 9.3 to 18.2% within the dog population. [1]

Dog size or breed are not playing a huge role in the occurrence.

That is why proper dental care is the main factor in preventing them.

But as dogs age, they might naturally develop some dental diseases.

Periodontal diseases can affect many dogs and lower dog’s life quality.

They represent inflammation and infection of the teeth.

Soft diets are another factor that can lead to periodontal disease. [2]

Seeing pictures of dog teeth with problems is the easiest way to “self-diagnose” your pet.

The inflammation can be seen around the following:

  • Teeth
  • Gums
  • Periodontal ligament
  • Alveolar bone

The primary cause of the disease is plaque buildup due to bacteria.

Some bacterias normally reside in the dog’s mouth.

But if certain bacteria are not treated and removed can lead to tartar.

Tartar is a great base for inflammatory response and bacteria multiplication.

The first changes are inflamed gums due to bacteria toxins.

This change is known as gingivitis.

Then, if the bacteria is not treated, the periodontal ligament gets inflamed.

While the most obvious change is damaged alveolar bone.

If the bacteria is left untreated, it can enter the bloodstream.

This is also known as bacteremia. [3]

Bacteremia can seriously affect the blood cells.

That is why blood tests are required in the diagnosing process.

Bacteremia can lead to tooth loss and secondary diseases.

Bacteremia is the reason why many vets use antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Oral rinse clindamycin and chlorhexidine are proven effective. [4]

Preventing diseased dog teeth is quite easy.

The first step for healthy dog teeth is proper dental hygiene.

Common Signs of Dental Disease

  • Bad breath
  • Inflamed gums
  • Chew habit changes
  • Pain or discomfort

Bad Breath

Halitosis or bad breath can be an indicator of dental disease.

Very often, this is the first sign of periodontal disease. [5]

However, halitosis can be divided into two subcategories.

This includes physiological and pathological. [6]

Physiological halitosis is usually when dogs eat uncommon foods.

While pathological halitosis is due to bacteria buildup.

Bacteria buildup is caused by improper dental hygiene.

Inflamed gums

The second visible change is inflamed gums.

Red and swollen gums are signs of inflammation.

In severe cases, bleeding gums are also visible.

Normal dog gums are pink and firm.

Anything that is different than this might be a sign of gingivitis.

Chew habit changes

Like humans, dogs are also prone to chew habit changes.

Humans usually have this sign when they have tooth pain or other dental issue.

It is the same with dogs.

When dogs have chewing habit changes, they might have periodontal disease.

Very often, these dogs prefer soft food over their favorite food.

However, soft food is another factor that can lead to periodontal disease.

Pain or discomfort

Unusual behavior can be a sign of many diseases.

So, if you notice that your dog is in pain, immediately call your vet.

Dogs with periodontal diseases can feel pain while chewing or drinking.

Excessive drooling or mouth rubbing are also signs of pain or discomfort.

Other common signs are tooth discoloration and swelling.

In worst-case scenarios, periodontal diseases can lead to tumors – epulis.

Other possibilities are jaw fractures.

Some diseases may weaken the mandibular bone.

This makes it more prone to fractures.

Dogs with fractures have difficulties opening their mouth.

An asymmetrical opening is a potential sign of fractures.

Knowing the common causes of dental diseases can help in intervention and treatment.

But all causes can be reduced with proper dental care.

Severity and Side Effects of Bad Teeth in Dogs

  • Immediate Consequences
  • Long-term Side Effects

Immediate Consequences

Immediate consequences

Long-term consequences

Halitosis (bad breath)

Tartar buildup

Swollen and red gums

Receding gums


Secondary diseases

Broken teeth

Jaw fractures

Pain or discomfort

Low appetite and weight loss


Systemic health issues

Immediate consequences are easily recognizable.

No previous knowledge is needed to notice them.

The most recognizable sign is bad breath.

Halitosis is common in most dental health issues.

Over time gums might become inflamed or swollen.

In severe cases, gum bleeding is visible.

This can lead to pain while eating.

If left untreated, weight loss is possible.

Immediate consequences shouldn’t be ignored.

As soon as you notice changes, make sure to contact a professional.

Long – Term Side Effects

When dental issues are not treated, systemic infections are possible.

Systemic infections occur when bacteria enter the bloodstream and lead to bacteremia.

Sometimes tooth abscess is formed due to bacteria buildup.

This abscess can have long-term side effects and lead to life-threatening complications.

The Carnassial tooth has 3 roots and is the largest in the maxilla.

Very often, an abscess is seen in this area. [7]

This condition is also known as a dental fistula or carnassial abscess.

Its main symptoms are swelling and redness.

The best treatment, in this case, is surgical intervention.

Additional antibiotic treatment is needed for a more successful recovery. [8]

Other long-term side effects include heart and liver diseases.

According to World Small Animal Veterinary Association, endocarditis is linked to periodontal diseases. [9]

Oral bacteria can adhere to damaged heart valves and lead to endocarditis.

Atrio-ventricular valve changes are also possible. [10]

Prevention of Dental Disease in Dogs

  • Importance of Dental Hygiene
  • Dental Chews and Chew Toys
  • Check-ups with the Vet

Importance of Dental Hygiene

The best way to maintain good oral hygiene are preventative measures.

Regular brushing is the first step in maintaining dental hygiene.

The brushing should be carefully introduced to dogs.

Positive reinforcement is one way to do it.

Start brushing your dog’s teeth from a very young age.

2-3 times per week is the optimal frequency for desired results.

The best results are seen when a toothbrush is combined with toothpaste.

Besides fresh breath, your dog will have healthy teeth and gums.

Dental Chews and Chew Toys

Dental chews and chew toys are becoming very popular.

These products can lead to healthy dog teeth if used regularly.

Greenies is a product that prevents tartar and plaque buildup.

This manufacturer provides dental chews for puppies with added calcium.

Calcium can support teeth and jaw development.

Our next recommendation is NutriChomps.

Its ingredients support the circulatory system and injury healing.

Another benefit is healthy skin, eyes, and metabolism.

SmartBones are perfectly designed for any dog size.

The chew is made with real chicken and wholesome vegetables.

Nylabone will keep your pet busy while maintaining oral health.

Also, with this toy, destructive chewing can be reduced.

The next chew toy is durable with beef flavor.

Spot is a great way to minimize bacteria and bad breath.

Benebone has a real wood flavor.

It can maintain good oral health.

Additionally, you can save your furniture from bites and damage.

Before purchasing, check the cleaning action of each toy.

Also, buy appropriate sizes for your dog.

The chewing process should be comfortable for your dog.

Otherwise, your dog might lose interest.

Keep in mind the chewing habits of your dog.

If your dog is an aggressive chewer, we advise durable toys.

The outcome is fresh breath, clean teeth, and disease prevention.

Check-ups with the Vet

Regular vet appointments can keep your dog healthy.

Vet visits are essential for preventing and detecting diseases in dogs.

During dental examinations, your vet will inspect the oral cavity.

If your vet notices some visual changes, further examination is needed.

If plaque and tartar are noticed, some professional treatment might be needed.

Also, you can get some extra professional tips for keeping your dog healthy.

You can also ask for specific dental dog products.

As soon as you notice any changes, we advise vet consultation.

Timely periodontitis detection can save you and your pet.

Dental Care in Dogs: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth
  • Monitoring a Dog’s Dental Health

How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth

Getting used to brushing is overwhelming for most dogs.

Once the dog gets used to the process, it will enjoy many health benefits.

Daily brushing is the best choice, but even twice a week is enough.

Step 1: Do it from a young age

Once you find a quiet place, take your puppy and start preparing.

Learning this habit from a young age is beneficial.

Remember to be gentle through the whole process.

Step 2: Rub your finger

Start the process with finger rubbing on the dog’s teeth.

The best way is to use simple motions.

Step 3: Introduce toothpaste

If your pet gets comfortable, slowly let him taste the toothpaste.

Human toothpaste is off the table.

Use only specialized dog toothpaste.

Step 4: Put the toothpaste on the toothbrush

Hold the brush with the toothpaste at a 45-degree angle.

Use your free hand to raise the dog’s lip.

The movements should be extra gentle until your dog gets used.

After the dog gets used to it, you can change the movements.

Step 5: Cover the whole oral cavity

Brushing should be done throughout the whole cavity.

Remember to cover the carnassial teeth.

The brushing should last at least 30 seconds.

If it lasts longer than 1 minute, it can get uncomfortable for your dog.

Therefore, aim for efficient and fast brushing.

But, cover the whole oral cavity to get the desired results.

Step 6: Offer a treat

After you are done with the process, offer a treat.

Positive reinforcement gives amazing results.

Important tip: If you notice bleeding – don’t panic.

Try to make more gentle moves.

If the bleeding continues, stop brushing.

If your dog’s tooth falls out, visit a vet.

This means that some previous pathological processes existed.

Also, it could mean that your movements were not gentle.

It is recommended to do it from a young age.

But don’t do it too early.

The dogs teething pain may still be present.

The brushing process is very simple.

But if you need extra tips, visit your vet for a demonstration.

Monitoring a Dog’s Dental Health

When you adopt a certain breed, you need to educate yourself.

For example, Chow Chows have a blue tongue.

But it is not something to panic about.

It is due to pigmented cells. [11]

We advise opening the dog’s mouth often.

You can observe plaque buildup.

If there are some changes, you will easily notice them.

Bad breath is also something you can easily notice.

But bad breath can also be a sign of unusual food.

If these symptoms are not treated, tartar or calculus changes might be present.

This is due to untreated bacterial oral infections.

As soon as you notice something unusual, contact a veterinarian.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

  • Warning Signs of Further Complications
  • The Veterinarian’s Role in Dental Care

Warning Signs of Further Complications

Bad breath and swollen and inflamed gums are usually the first signs.

Although they don’t seem concerning, they can lead to complications.

The first complication is chew habit changes.

This can lead to low appetite and weak pet.

Other complications are pain, discomfort, and jaw fractures.

Bacteremia is one of the worst complications.

Unfortunately, you will not see this coming.

Bacteria can enter the bloodstream unexpectedly.

It can cause severe secondary diseases.

The heart, kidney, and liver can be affected due to bacterial infections.

Carnassial abscess is also a serious complication.

Sometimes the changes are quite visible and unpleasant.

This complication requires immediate solving.

The dogs tooth abscess treatment can be pricey, but it is needed.

Dental procedures are unpleasant for both the pet and the owner:

  • Cleaning
  • Adjustment
  • Filling
  • Extraction
  • Surgeries

The procedures are performed by veterinarians or board-certified vet dentists.

You may also experience symptoms of tooth extraction complications.

That is why X-ray is needed after surgery.

Radiographs can show if the extraction is done properly.

Complications are usually possible in carnassial tooth extractions.

The carnassial tooth has 3 roots, and that is the reason behind the difficult process.

The Veterinarian’s Role in Dental Care

Regular vet checkups can save you from a lot of trouble.

With their knowledge, they can guide new pet owners.

You can get tips for proper dental cleaning.

Also, regular vet visits can help in evaluating oral health.

Many diseases can be diagnosed and prevented during vet visits.

If some disease is diagnosed, the treatment process will be specialized.

Your dog can get a professional dental cleaning.

You can get advice for dental home care.

Specialized dental products, diets, or treats can be prescribed to you.

Can Rotten Teeth in Dogs Make Them Sick?

Yes, rotten teeth in dogs make them sick.

Ignoring the obvious signs can lead to severe bacteremia.

This causes pain, tooth decay, or tooth loss.

Pasturella multocida is commonly found in the dog’s mouth. [12]

This bacteria can be transmitted to humans while cuddling.

Severe cases of rotten teeth can lead to bad overall health.

Dogs can have a lack of appetite and weight loss.

Also, they might suffer from pain and discomfort.

Can Dogs’ Bad Teeth Cause Health Problems?

Yes, dogs’ bad teeth can cause health problems.

That is why proper dental care is needed.

With proper dental care, you can avoid secondary health issues.

Prevention is the best cure.

Therefore, take your dog for a regular vet check-up.

Regular vet visits can keep your dog healthy and save you a lot of money.