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If you are celebrating Pet Dental Month by taking care of your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, CONGRATULATIONS!  That extra effort you take will help keep those chompers pearly white, strong for eating, and — best of all – free of stinky dog breath for those up-close cuddles.

But did you know that by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and giving healthy dental chew products, you are doing far more than just making their smile bright?  You are actually helping their overall health and well-being.

Periodontal disease is an ugly and dangerous condition that happens five times more often in dogs than in people. It can lead not only to bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth loss – but also issues like diabetes and heart disease.  It is important to take preventative steps to avoid problems before they start.  Here’s what that dental TLC can do for your dog: 

  1. Reduce plaque to reduce infection.  Plaque is made up of bacteria, which signals the dog’s immune system to fight back with white blood cells. The white blood cells release enzymes that break down tissue — which can let bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body causing infections elsewhere, including the kidneys, liver and lungs. 
  2. Support Cardiovascular Health.  A dog’s heart and liver are especially susceptible to developing inflammation from dental disease. The bacteria that develops from periodontal disease is the same that can infect heart valves, causing an inflammation of the lining of the heart. Giving dental chews like The Missing Link® Smartmouth™ that contain heart healthy ingredients such as flaxseed, taurine and nutritional yeast aid in supporting cardiovascular health.
  3. Stop the vicious cycle.  Diabetic dogs tend to have higher levels of periodontal disease; in turn, the more severe the dental issues, the more serious the diabetes gets.  Once the dental issues are addressed, the diabetes is much easier to stabilize.
  4. Reduce weakness and pain.  A dog can, and will, still eat with a painful tooth and may not exhibit other tell-tale signs like excessive drooling or bleeding. They continue to live with the pain.  In smaller breeds, infections in the dog’s mouth can weaken their jaws making them susceptible to fracture because the bone has become unhealthy. Don’t be fooled by “normal” behavior. Problems may be lurking.

Our pups can’t tell us how they are feeling, or if they are in pain. But with good oral hygiene including regular Vet exams, tooth brushing, and treating with nutritional dental chews, you can be a Dental Hero and help keep your dog – from Maltese to Mastiff — pain free and healthy. And get fresh-breath kisses and tail wags as a thank you.

For the month of February, The Missing Link® is giving away four Happy Mouth Kits!  Check it out on Instagram to participate. 

Sources:

The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs, by Wendy Fries, WebMD Archives https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/perlis-gum-disease-dogs#1

5 Scary Consequences of Neglecting Your Dog’s Teeth by Dr. Hanie Elfendbein, DVM, PhD, Pet MD Archives  https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/5-scary-consequences-neglecting-your-dogs-teeth

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