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Help! My Senior Dog has a Loose Tooth

Close up portrait of a senior pug with his tongue sticking out while panting.

Dogs are great, they provide unconditional love, companionship, a playmate, and more. However, dogs tend to get old and when they do, their bodies are just like ours. They do not work that well.

One area where your senior dog’s body is not working is its teeth. Some senior dogs tend to lose their teeth as they age. Even if you have followed the vet’s advice and taken up brushing their teeth.

To get help with this problem, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you have the answers you need. It is still advisable to get in touch with a veterinarian.

Why is My Senior Dog Losing His or Her Teeth?

Old terrier dog with mouth open, panting outdoors in tall grass

The traditional and normal methods for senior dogs to lose their teeth is through a fall or some sort of accident. These little events happen, and they are not always easy to prevent.

However, it is possible that your dog’s teeth loss is through disease. When your dog gets a periodontal disease, these ailments can cause your dog’s teeth to fall out. That big medical word, periodontal, simply means an inflammation or infection in your dog’s gums or tissues surrounding their teeth.

Strangely enough, periodontal disease can strike dogs when they are just 3 or 4 years old. It is a common ailment vet see all the time. Periodontal diseases originate when plaque builds up on the dog’s teeth.

What is Plaque and How Does it Cause Disease?

Hand holding pomeranian's mouth open to show bad teeth

Plaque is made by food particles and the dog’s saliva which sticks to their teeth. Then bacteria form and causes havoc on your senior dog’s bones that hold their teeth in place.

If you do nothing about the plaque on your pet’s teeth, it will soon turn into tartar and that is like putting cement in your dog’s mouth. While plaque can be removed by brushing, tartar is another story.

When tartar is not removed, it causes bone damage, and the teeth loosen up and fall out. Keeping your dog’s teeth clean helps prevent this situation.

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

Veterinarian checking on a Cocker Spaniel's teeth

There are 4 different stages that vets classify this disease. The stages go from 0 to 4 with the higher number the more severe aspect of the disease.

  1. Stage 0 – Tartar is evident but not severe or causing bone loss
  2. Stage 1- Tartar and gingivitis are present but still no bone loss
  3. Stage 2- Both ailments are present and there is 20% bone loss around the teeth
  4. Stage 3- Tartar is there along with moderate gingivitis causing 25 to 50% bone loss
  5. Stage 4- Severe levels of both tartar and gingivitis are in your dog’s mouth causing more than 50% bone loss

The Signs of Periodontal Disease

Close up of the open mouth of a Jack Russell Terrier.

Like every human disease, there are signs telling something is wrong with your dog. Here are those signs:

  1. Bad Breath
  2. Your Dog Experiences Pain When Chewing
  3. Bleeding Gums
  4. Chews Only on One Side Of Their Mouths
  5. Prefers Soft to Hard Food

There are signs indicating that your dog has severe or in the highest stages of periodontal disease.

  1. Puss around teeth or gums
  2. Lots layers of tarter around the teeth
  3. Large bone loss that causes teeth to loosen, etc.
  4. Swelling around the mouth
  5. Does not eat, usually caused by severe pain or sensitivity in the mouth

Periodontal disease may not seem like it is a serious ailment. But it does have some influence on your pet’s health. This disease can affect the following areas of his or her life:

  1. Gradual Weight Loss – If it hurts to eat, your dog will not eat
  2. Lower Quality of Life – Less energy, less interest in playing with toys requiring the use of his or her mouth
  3. Risk Of Heart Disease – The bacteria in her or his mouth can migrate through their bloodstream to the heart and cause lots of damage to that organ

Is There Anything You Can Do to Prevent Tooth Loss

Veterinarian holding toothbrush with toothpaste in front of a yellow labrador puppy

While it is not considered by vets to be a normal part of your dog’s aging process, tooth loss can and does occur. If you see your dog losing one tooth, take your pet to your vet’s and get a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Sometimes that plan can involve putting your dog under anesthesia and the vet cleaning their teeth. A polisher may be used to smooth the dog’s teeth making it harder for disease to latch onto the bones.

Or a special gel is inserted to prevent further tartar and gingivitis build up. The good news is that fully educated vets can save or fix damaged teeth but not in all situations. To prevent this scenario, regular brushing is recommended.

Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush and take your time so your dog gets used to the brushing experience. Or you can use many of the doggy dental products on sale in your favorite stores. That is if your dog likes them.

The products to buy are the ones with the veterinary Oral health Council’s logo on the box.

Some Final Words

Overhead portrait of a brown senior dog sitting on a tile floor

Periodontal disease is not something you should ignore. It will harm your dog as well as his or her teeth. Take special care of your pet and see your vet when you see plaque forming. Catching it early will spare your dog a lot of pain.

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