What Happens If Periodontal Disease Goes Untreated in Dogs?

Periodontal disease describes an inflammation of the gums or tissues surrounding the teeth. The entire mouth is affected if the tooth's support system is affected. If left untreated, dogs suffer from periodontal disease, which can cause oral and health complications. 

The disease can lead to loss of teeth, severe oral pain, and other dental conditions. As with humans, regular oral care is vital for dogs. Here is what happens if the periodontal disease goes untreated in dogs. 


Understanding Periodontal Disease 


Periodontal disease is the inflammation or infection of the teeth's tissues due to bacteria growth. Gum disease usually begins as gingivitis, or gum inflammation, before it worsens to periodontitis. The disease is painful and can threaten the integrity of the jawbone. It can also affect the dog's overall health. 


Symptoms of Canine Periodontal Disease


Symptoms of the disease vary from one dog to the next, depending on the severity of the condition. The symptoms include:


  • Bad breath or halitosis

  • Oral pain

  • Red or inflamed gums

  • Difficulty chewing food or treats

  • Disinterest in chew toys

  • Loose teeth

  • Salivating more than usual

As periodontal disease progresses, the pain worsens, and the dog loses interest in food. The teeth become loose and may fall out. 


Causes of Periodontal Disease 


Periodontal disease occurs gradually, beginning with plaque formation caused by bacteria. The plaque adheres to the teeth and gums, hardening into dental tartar. Plaque and tartar-containing bacteria get under the gumline, secreting toxins that damage the supporting tissues. 

The damage causes pockets around the teeth where debris and bacteria continue to collect, causing periodontal disease. Some dog breeds are more predisposed to getting the disease. 


Diagnosing Periodontal Disease


Accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. To diagnose periodontitis in dogs, the veterinarian at Hamilton Animal Hospital will conduct an oral examination. Dental X-rays can determine the extent of damage, making them valuable during diagnosis. The disease is diagnosed based on severity, from the earliest form (grade one) to the most advanced stage (grade four).


Treatment for Periodontal Disease


It is vital to understand that there is no cure for periodontal disease, and the damage is irreversible. A professional dental cleaning can help prevent the worsening of gum disease. Scaling of the teeth and under the gum can help reduce inflammation. 


Consequences of Untreated Periodontal Disease


Neglecting your dog's oral health or failing to treat the gum disease can lead to issues, including:


  • Severe pain and loss of appetite

  • Setting off the immune system

  • The increasing risk of heart disease

  • Worsening diabetes complications

  • A broken jaw

Taking care of your dog's oral health can help prevent periodontal disease and other dental conditions. Maintaining a good oral health regimen that involves cleaning your dog's teeth and gums can help prevent the growth of bacteria. 

You should also ensure that you schedule regular oral exams that include professional cleaning. Talk to your vet about foods and dental products that help prevent dental issues. 

For more on what happens if periodontal disease goes untreated in dogs, visit Hamilton Animal Hospital at our Huntington Beach, California office. Call (714) 964-4744 to schedule an appointment today.

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