Paper on Dentals

Everything that doesn't fit anywhere else!

Postby SisMorphine » March 29th, 2006, 11:05 pm

Okay, so I have to write a paper for class tomorrow (nothing like last minute!) regarding a canine or feline ailment. I chose dental health since it's something I have recently had to deal with (poor toothless Wally).

So the following is an EXTREMELY rough draft. Essentially a stream of consciousness that I wrote in 10 minutes. I know that my transition sentences are off, and I'm sure some of the spelling is too. So really I am looking for any and all general feedback or suggestions (I'll do the nit-picky English stuff in the morning). It still needs to be about a half page longer than it is, so suggestions on things to add would rock my world. I'll be trying to do a little more tonight, and then waking up wicked early tomorrow to edit and finish it.

Thanks in advance!

As humans we brush our teeth multiple times a day. We were told when we were young that the only way to keep our teeth in our head was to brush and floss. Well why should it be any different for our dogs? Milk Bones and hard kibble just don’t cut it in the dental care area. In addition to normal plaque build-up there are abscesses, horizontal bone loss, infection, among other things, to deal with.
The causes of poor oral health in dogs have a wide range. Sometimes it can simply be blamed on diet. A dog that is fed canned food, or ground meat, for it’s meals is sure to have a good amount of plaque and tartar build up. They have nothing working to scrape the teeth of the gunk. The same can be said for dogs who eat kibble, but who inhales it as opposed to chew it. The food is getting into them, but it is skipping the chewing part on the way in. Again the teeth do not get the work out that they should be getting. This is where brushing comes in.
People often scoff at the idea of brushing their dog’s teeth. But in reality just doing it once a day will help great amounts with their general oral health. By using a soft bristled brush and some poultry flavored toothpaste for just a few minutes a day, you could be saving yourself a great deal of money down the road because your dog won’t need a dental. But preventative care does not help with everyone.
Some dogs are pre-dispositioned to have oral health issues. These dogs include many small breed dogs. Most of these dogs have had their conformation tweaked heavily by the human hand (ie: selective breeding or poor breeding or breeding for looks alone). These dogs have small jaws but the size of the teeth and/or the number of them have not changed. So here you run into overcrowding which can cause teeth to lose their roots and fall out. It also leaves them more exposed to plaque and tartar since they are packed in so tightly.
Another dog that has it in it’s genetic make up to have oral health issues would be the Greyhound. These dogs are mouth breathers. This means that the plaque and bacteria will dry quickly to their teeth, causing the process of eating away at the teeth to be much quicker than in other dogs. They also have hereditary issues with horizontal bone loss. This means that the bone in their jaw that surrounds the roots of their teeth is slowly disappearing. This causes loosening of the teeth, which can make it painful for a dog to eat.
So what happens if you just leave it alone? Surely the tooth will fall out, right? Well yes, it will fall out at one point or another. But prior to it falling out it will become infected, and will possibly abscess. Not only can an abscess and/or infected tooth become painful for the dog, but it can also prove to be deadly. With the way that the mouth is set up, an infection in the teeth goes straight into the blood stream. This is then carried and is usually dropped off in the place that is most densely filled with blood: the heart. There is a clear link in humans, canines, and felines between heart disease and oral health. So if you have a dog or cat with a very badly infected tooth which you do nothing about, it would not be uncommon for your pet to die from heart disease.
Last edited by SisMorphine on March 30th, 2006, 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
They're like service dogs gone wrong.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 29th, 2006, 11:08 pm

Sounds good!
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Postby SisMorphine » March 30th, 2006, 8:52 am

Okay so the one I wrote last night sucked. Here's the one that I just wrote in the last 40 minutes. I think it's too long, but I'll have to go find my notebook with the paper specs to be sure.

People are told from the time that they are young that they need to brush their teeth, floss, rinse, and use other preventative measures to insure that their oral health remains good. But ask these same people who brush their own teeth two or three times a day if they brush their dog’s teeth and they will most likely laugh at you. The laughing will quickly stop after you mention the fact that not keeping up with your dog’s oral health can lead to periodontal disease which leads to heart disease. Dirty teeth may not sound like a life threatening ailment, but a diseased heart sure does.

Periodontal disease starts off slowly by plaque accumulating on the surface of the tooth. Though plaque is soft, it cannot be rinsed away with water or pushed off with the tongue. It needs to be taken off by some sort of physical abrasion, usually the food eaten or brushing. If the plaque is left on the tooth it will eventually form tartar. Tartar is when mineral salts from the saliva get into the plaque. This is usually a bigger problem in open mouthed breathers (ex: Greyhounds, or bracchiocephalic breeds), as the salts dry much quicker into the plaque forming tartar. Tartar is hard, it appears above and below the gum line, and it cannot be removed by a toothbrush, it must be scaled off. If left unattended this can lead to Periodontal Disease.

The Periodontal Structures are what keep the teeth firmly in place in a dog’s jaw, allowing for the teeth to comfortably rip and tear away at their food without damaging their teeth. This is what is affected by periodontal disease. By damaging these structures the teeth become loosened in the jaw. This can make eating, or even touching the mouth gently, a painful experience. The sockets quickly become infected and you end up with a very sick dog on your hands; one who will not eat and is in large amounts of pain. Once the periodontal ligament has been damaged, it is irreversible.

In addition to periodontal disease there is usually the occurrence of gingivitis. As the tartar builds up on the teeth it pushes its way down under the gum line. By doing so it irritates the gums. These inflamed soft tissues are host to bacterial toxins which cause infection in the gums, which is when it is termed gingivitis.

So now you have a dog with inflamed and infected gums, teeth covered in plaque and tartar, and a periodontal structure which has broken down to the point where there teeth are loose making it painful to eat, be touched, or even breath open mouthed if the periodontal disease is that bad. The dog’s immune system is trying to fight a lot of infection. In a young, healthy dog, the periodontal disease can usually be kept at bay. But if the dog has a compromised immune system due to illnesses or age, you will see the periodontal disease spreading quicker and heavily affecting the dog.

These bacteria which are causing all of the pain in the dog’s mouth can be released into the blood stream. Organs with the highest blood flow, namely the heart, are the most at risk. If these bacteria are deposited into the heart it is the beginning of heart disease for your poor pup. Though it can sometimes be managed with medication, heart disease will ultimately prevail, resulting in death. The liver, kidney, and even joints can also be heavily affected by the bacteria that the periodontal disease deposited into the blood stream. All of this could have been prevented by doing some simple oral health care.

The first step is the food you are feeding. By feeding solely canned, thoroughly soaked kibble, ground meat, or other soft foods you are setting your dog up to develop tartar quickly. Instead they should be eating a hard kibble, or a whole raw diet, which will provide a physical abrasion to rid your dog of plaque. People will often argue that their dog is missing some teeth so they cannot eat hard foods anymore. Well my own Greyhound just had 17 teeth taken out 3 weeks ago due to horizontal bone loss (which is a hereditary condition affecting most Greyhounds). He eats ¼ of a raw chicken, whole, bones and all, twice a day with no problems. And though I have not seen it myself, I have heard of dogs with no teeth but a strong jaw still chowing down on a whole raw diet.

The other thing that you can do at home to prevent periodontal disease is to brush your dog’s teeth once a day. Some people do it once a week, but it has been proven that plaque begins to become tartar in about 24 hours, so if you skip a day of brushing that plaque is already hardened to the teeth. So by brushing once a day you can significantly reduce the chance of periodontal disease.

The most important thing you can do to prevent this is to have your pet’s oral health checked regularly by a veterinarian. This way if they think that your dog, or cat, may be on its way to periodontal disease, they can schedule a dental. In a canine or feline dental the animal is put under anesthesia. While under, dental x-rays are taken. The teeth are then evaluated to see if any need to be removed. Any that are necessary to remove are taken out, and the rest of the teeth are scaled and polished just like they do at a human dentist’s office.

By simply brushing your dog’s teeth, offering foods which will cause physical abrasion, and having regular oral health care done by your veterinarian, you can not only have a dog with better smelling breath, but you can actually save your dog’s liver, kidney’s, heart, and life.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
They're like service dogs gone wrong.
Posts: 9233
Location: PR

Postby SisMorphine » March 30th, 2006, 9:17 am

And now I think I may kill myself. I went out to the car to get my notebook so I could check length, and in my notebook I find that this paper isn't due until the end of April, NOT the end of March.

I really do suck. A lot.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
They're like service dogs gone wrong.
Posts: 9233
Location: PR

Postby Jenn » March 30th, 2006, 9:46 am

lol, well at least you have it done now! I think it's good,and educational. I learned some stuff. :)
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