Chihuahua Dental Care Teacup Chihuahua Puppy
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Chihuahua Dental Care: What to Include in a Complete Program
Dental disease in Chihuahua Puppies
Plaque: Chihuahua Puppies rarely get cavities, but are much more prone to gum disease and excess tartar build-up on the teeth. Food particles and bacteria collect along the gumline forming plaque. Routine home care can remove this plaque.
Tartar: If plaque is not removed, minerals in the saliva combine with the plaque and form tartar (or calculus) which adheres strongly to the teeth. Plaque starts to mineralize 3-5 days after it forms. The tartar is irritating to the gums and causes an inflammation called gingivitis. This can be seen as reddening of the gums adjacent to the teeth. It also causes bad breath. At this point it is necessary to remove the tartar with special instruments called scalers, and then polish the teeth.
Periodontal Disease: If the tartar is not removed, it builds up under the gums. It separates the gums from the teeth to form "pockets" and encourages even more bacterial growth. At this point the damage is irreversible, and called "periodontal" disease. It can be very painful and can lead to loose teeth, abscesses, and bone loss or infection. As bacterial growth continues to increase, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream. This can cause infection of the heart valves (endocarditis), liver, and kidneys. If treated by your veterinarian with special instruments and procedures, periodontal disease can be slowed or stopped.
What is included in a good dental care program?
A good dental care program includes:
Oral Exams by Your Veterinarian: A thorough dental exam can identify potential problems such as plaque and tartar build-up, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and fractured or abscessed teeth. During an oral exam your veterinarian will:
Dental Cleaning by Your Veterinarian: To prevent dental disease, your dog needs routine dental care at home. But to perform good home care, you need to start with clean teeth. Brushing will remove plaque but not tartar. So if your dog's teeth have tartar, it is necessary for your veterinarian to remove it and polish the teeth. This professional veterinary dental cleaning is often called a prophylaxis or "prophy." A routine dental cleaning consists of:
Daily Home Oral Care: Home oral care includes routine examinations of your dog's mouth and brushing her teeth.
Home oral exam: As you care for your dog's mouth, look for warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, a yellow-brown crust of tartar around the gumline, and pain or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth. You should also watch for discolored, fractured, or missing teeth. Any bumps or masses within the mouth should also be checked by your veterinarian.
Daily brushing: Regular brushing of your dog's teeth is a very important preventive for oral and other diseases. A step-by-step procedure for providing this care is found in our article Brushing Your Dog's Teeth.
Mechanical removal of plaque: Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better than canned food at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. There are veterinary dentist-approved foods and treats on the market that have shown that Chihuahua Puppies eating these foods have less plaque and tartar build-up.
Canine products that have received the Veterinary Oral Health's Council seal of acceptance are as follows:
Mechanical removal of plaque can also be accomplished by using toys such as Plaque Attacker dental toys, rope toys, or rawhide chips. Do not use toys that are abrasive and can wear down the teeth. If your dog is an aggressive chewer and likes to bite down, trying to crack the toy, you probably should not let the dog chew on that toy. For especially aggressive chewers, look for toys they cannot get their mouths around. Rawhide or other chews that soften as the dog chews are another option.