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Does Your Dog's Breath Emit a Foul Odor? Why It Could Spell Disease

Published on 13th January 2018

You turn the key to your front door. Inside your lovable dog, Max, is anxiously waiting to knock your olfactory system senseless with his odorous breath. It's a nauseating smell, one you've grown accustomed to over time.

To you it's typical bad breath, but have you ever stopped to wonder if it was trying to tell you something? Whether you know it or not, your dog's breath speaks volumes about his health. How it smells and oral presentations have a direct connection to the health of his vital organs.

Be your dog's first line of defense. Smell tests and visual exams of your dog's mouth can alert you to signs of disease, allowing you and your veterinarian to get ahead of the curve in your dog's overall health. You just need to know what to look for. 

What's Happening Inside Your Dog's Mouth? 


You have a routine. Every morning you wake up and brush your teeth. Before you hit the sack, you do the same. And if you're a dentist's dream patient, you floss daily.

Could you imagine not having this oral health routine with all the foods and drinks you consume daily?

A thick biofilm of bacteria and oral debris would attach to your teeth and gum surfaces, causing the teeth to become a yellowish-brown and the gums to darken. As plaque and calculus spread under the gum line, the tissues would react to the toxins and pathogens secreted by the bacteria. The gums would become inflamed, allowing a pathway for bacteria to enter the tissues and blood (bactermia).

The gunk, the grime, the thick plaque buildup from today and yesteryear's meals would turn your teeth a yellowish-brown. The plaque and calculus that spread under the gum line would cause the tissues supporting the teeth to degrade over time as they react to toxins and pathogens secreted by the bacteria. Your mouth would emit a god-awful aroma, one that spoke a nightmarish tale of rotted food and decaying gum tissues--Goodbye, dating life.

Internally, your vital organs--including the heart, liver and kidneys--would sustain cumulative damage from the oral toxins and pathogens moving passed the gum barrier and using the blood to transport them to organs where they will make microscopic changes. , where they travel traveling to organs and where theytravels to organs  . . This is because bacteria awakens an immune system response, signaling helpful white blood cells to move into the periodontal space between the gum and tooth and attack. But as the cells are deluged by the toxins and pathogens released by the bacteria, they turn from helpful to harmful by emitting a damaging chemical that couples with bacteria to destroy gum tissues and move passed their barrier into the blood, wreak havoc on distant organs they come into contact with.

things would be As you tried to navigate the world with unsightly teeth and unconscionable breath, you'd be dealing with somewhat would take place internally would be more concerning. Meanwhile, as you'd be dealing with unsightly teeth and unconscionable breath, what would take place internally would be much more complicated and concerning. toxins and pathogens invade the blood, cumulative damage is caused to distant organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys.

put dispose upon others. , telling everyone what you've eaten up to date  would put you on the out. Your teeth would be yellowish-brown, To not brush your teeth daily would go against social norms and

But what about your dog, Max? Can you remember the last time you brushed his teeth? Have you ever brushed his teeth? We all secretly know the answer is not in years or no, never.

Truth is, you just don't consciously think of man's best friend as needing a daily tooth brushing session. The act is not only time-consuming, but the idea is almost foreign. You provide essential care in other ways such as grooming, vaccinations, annual checkups and specialized diets, but brushing his teeth is unaccustomed. 

It's why by the age of three, 80 percent of dogs have periodontal disease and associated microscopic changes in the heart, liver and kidney. It all started with poor oral hygiene.

Plaque is a biofilm of bacteria and oral debris that attaches to the tooth and gum surfaces. As plaque and calculus spread under the gum line, the tissues react to the toxins and pathogens secreted by the bacteria. The gums become inflamed, allowing a pathway for bacteria to enter the tissues and blood (bactermia).

The bacteria that penetrates supporting gum tissues weakens them to the point of no longer being able to hold teeth. The bones themselves degrade. Infection of gum tissues and bone can present in oral complications like ulcers, exposed bone loss, jaw fractures, cysts, and nasal discharge caused by a hole from the oral cavity into the nasal passages. Meanwhile, toxins and pathogens invade the blood, cumulative damage is caused to distant organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys.

This is because the bacteria awakens your dog's immune system response, signaling helpful white blood cells to move into the periodontal space between the gum and tooth and attack. But as the cells are deluged by the toxins and pathogens released by the bacteria, they emit a harmful chemical that couples with the bacteria to destroy the supporting tissues and, as they travel through the blood, wreak havoc on distant organs they come into contact with.

Examining Your Dog's Mouth: What to Look For

Your dog’s breath likely does not smell pleasant. This is common given his diet and oral hygiene. But the breath should not be odorous. A mouth that emits strong, offensive odors could be the sign of periodontal disease or digestive problems. This is because bacteria associated with plague kill healthy cells and bacteria in the mouth. As bad bacteria takes over and wears away the teeth and gums, the die-off that occurs leads to the mouth being scent-laden.

While a smell test is just one tell-tale sign of a problem, the biggest tool at your exposal is your eyes. A visual exam of your dog's mouth is often enough to give you a window to his health. But you have to know what to look for. Some symptoms will be apparent, while others may not.

Here are some common diseases of the mouth and how they present:

Gingivitis/periodontitis: These oral conditions are marked by inflamed, bloodied or red gums. At first, your dog's gums may have a visibly dark red line along the border of his teeth and then, over time, cause the gums to be painful and tender, as well as recede. Tooth loss, ropey saliva, and ulcers may be also result and cause the mouth to take on a putrid scent.

Mouth ulcers: As mouth ulcers develop, there may be lesions on the teeth, pus, severe halitosis, swelling of lining of the mouth, swelling of the lip folds, exposed bone (alveolar osteitis and idiopathic osteomyelitis), scar formation on lateral margins of the tongue, and thick, cloudy saliva. 

Salivary cysts: When the salivary glands or ducts become obstructed and bacteria fester due to their inability to bypass, a fluid-filled sack can form in the neck or under the tongue. Depending on its size, your dog may display excessive drooling, foul-smelling breath, and limited or abnormal tongue movement.  

If you see any of these signs or symptoms, a trip to your veterinarian’s office will confirm a diagnosis. After performing tests, such as a urinalysis, fecal exam, or blood work, your vet will take those findings and draft up a treatment plan that is individualized to your pet and his needs. In the meantime, veterinarians recommend you adapt the following at-home tips to boost your dog's oral health and overall health.

Simple At-Home Tips for Improving Your Dog's Oral Health



While organ damage sustained due to periodontal disease cannot be fully reversed, professional dental cleanings and daily at-home cleanings can prevent further damage, improve organ function, and reduce pain and infections.

Here are some oral health tips:

• Gently brush your pet’s teeth with either a toothbrush designed specifically for cats or a dental sleeve you can place on your fingertip. Do this several times each week, being sure to brush in soft, circular motions. Beyond paying attention to the teeth, massage the gums and scrub the tongue. If your pet is reluctant, you will need to get him acclimated with the process. You can do this by letting your pet lick the flavored dentifrice off your finger or the toothbrush. As he becomes comfortable and in a relaxed state, gradually place the brush in your pet’s mouth and begin brushing motions.

• Pair your toothbrush with a toothpaste designed specifically for your pet. Do not use toothpaste for humans, as it can cause serious illness.

• Use an anti-plaque antiseptic. The solution comes in the form of an oral rinse or gel and works by adhering to the tooth surface and oral tissues. The formulation is also increasingly released into the oral cavity. Follow the instructions on the package. If using the rinse, you may need to squirt the solution inside the cheeks; if the gel, you may need to apply the product to your finger or toothbrush before introducing it to your pet’s mouth.

• Choose plaque-fighting, tartar-removing foods. The next time you go to the pet supply store, look for dry foods that are designed to rid plaque as your pet eats. Think of it as an apple that helps remove plaque from your own teeth. But before you go out and buy, speak to your veterinarian. He may have suggestions based on your pet’s age and health.

Chew toys shouldn’t just be for fun; they should have a purpose. Find chew toys that massage your pet’s gums, floss its teeth and scrub away tartar.

All of these measures can go a long way in improving your pet’s oral health and overall health. Expect for there to be some resistance at first, especially if your pet is not used to having its mouth tampered with. Remember your goal: to ensure good oral health. So be patient, remain consistent and use a gentle approach. If you find you need more helpful tips or tools, speak to your veterinarian.



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