A Toothsome Topic: Do Dogs Get Cavities? 

What do you see in your dog’s mouth? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably gotten  that up close and personal with your pet’s mouth. After all, dogs eat a lot of things that we’d say are questionable. But the dental care of your pet is paramount to a lifetime of good health for them.

Let’s take a closer look into that big, happy smile and explore whether or not dogs get cavities, as well as some dental health tips for your furry friends.

Do Dogs Get Cavities?

You have probably been frustrated when you’ve gone to your dentist, after months of diligently brushing, flossing, and rinsing, only to have them discover yet another cavity. To the drill you go…again. It seems that we are prone to cavities, and much of it has to do with what we eat, oral hygiene, and genetics. 

You may have wondered then if your doggo gets cavities, too. After all, they’re mammals like us. 

The short answer is yes, but on rare occasions and not to the same degree. 

There are a few good reasons why your pet doesn’t have to endure the drill. And it isn’t because they are expert at keeping their mouths clean.

  1. Their diet – Most dogs don’t have the smorgasbord of food choices we have, and most of what we eat bowls down to sugar. Carbohydrates are the basis of most diets, and sugars don’t contribute to great dental health. Dogs eat what they are given, the nutritionally balanced diet that is mostly protein based.

  2. More awareness of dental care – Despite dental examination and daily tooth brushing still low on the list of most pet’s owners’ priorities, there is a growing awareness. As we teach pet owners the importance of dental hygiene, we can hopefully avoid cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental conditions.

  3. Good bacteria – Like the mouths of humans, the oral cavity of dogs is active with bacteria. Because of their diets, they are not prone to a specific cavity-causing bacterium called Streptococcus mutans. Other types of bacteria in your pet’s mouth do increase the development of gingivitis and periodontal disease, though.
  4. The shape of their teeth – Dogs have much pointier teeth than our own. Their tooth surface is smoother, so there are fewer places for the bacteria to hide and cause cavities.

What Should I Look For?

Again, it is rare to find a cavity among our canine companions, but it can happen. Certain breeds, such as  German Shepherds, seem to be more prone to developing them. A cavity appears dark brown or black in color. Discoloration is a common problem and indicator of a plaque and tartar buildup, rather than an actual cavity.

When in doubt, call us for a dental examination.

Practicing Good Pet Dental Care

There are steps you should take to prevent any problems with your pet’s teeth and gums.

  1. Brush your pet’s teeth on a daily or regular basis with a pet-friendly toothpaste (never human toothpaste) and brush.
  2. Maintain regular wellness exam appointments where we will take a close look at your pet’s dental health.
  3. Examine your pet’s teeth on occasion, looking for loose teeth, discoloration, bad odor, or other problems.

We hope this overview gave you some relief of the question of whether dogs get cavities. Of course, since about 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease, the important take-away is that you pay close attention to that big smile. 

For more information about your dog’s dental health, or to schedule an appointment, please call the team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates.