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Like most dogs, bichon frises are constantly plagued by tooth problems. By the age of three, dental disease is the most frequent chronic condition in canines, impacting 80 percent of all dogs. Small dogs like bichon frises, regrettably, are more likely than other dogs to be plagued by dental issues.
It all starts with tartar buildup on the teeth, and if left unchecked, causes gum and tooth infection. Your furry friend might then lose his or her teeth, putting its heart, kidneys, liver, and joints at risk. Prevention is always better than cure.
In this post, we’ll talk all about the teeth of your darling bichon frise, and how to prevent teeth problems it might have.
How to Tell If Your Bichon Frise Has a Tooth Problem
It’s tempting to dismiss dental disease as a source of suffering, especially in older dogs, because we typically attribute behavioral changes to simply “being old.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Mouth pain easily leads to some behavioral changes that are easily overlooked. Look out for the below signs:
- More dribbling (salivation)
- Playing with or chewing toys gradually losing its appeal
- Food daffiness—such as eating on one side alone, difficulty picking up food, or preference for certain foods
- Pawing or rubbing at the mouth of your bichon frise
- Blood in the water or food bowl
- When examining the mouth, your pooch may feel pain, yelp, or avoid being handled
Red or swollen gums, smelly breath, and yellow, brown, or missing teeth are some of the most clinical indications of dental illness. It’s vital to remember that if left untreated, dental problems in your bichon frise can be excruciatingly unpleasant.
What Are the Most Common Bichon Frise Teeth Problems?
When caring about your bichon frise’s dental health, you should keep the below in mind:
- Gingivitis, which is a condition in which the gums become reddish and inflamed, especially around the teeth
- Calculus and tartar – a yellow/brown substance that forms on the surface of the tooth
- The infection could be indicated by foul-smelling breath
- Gum swelling, which could be a sign of an abscess
- Teeth that are loose, broken, or missing should be addressed as soon as possible
The four most common problems include:
#1: Periodontal Disease
The most common dental disease in dogs, periodontal disease affects more than 80% of dogs over the age of 3.
The gums and bones that surround your and your pooch’s teeth are referred to as “periodontal.” Bacteria gets under the gum line and eats away at the tissue and bone that holds your dog’s teeth in place when tartar and plaque are left in the mouth. Teeth then grow loose and begin to fall out over time.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Bone and soft tissue loss surrounding the teeth will occur as the disease advances. Pockets grow around the roots of the teeth when the critical support structures for the teeth deteriorate, allowing bacteria, debris, and food to gather and cause severe infections in your bichon’s teeth.
Periodontal disease has no known effective remedy. When dental illness becomes periodontal disease, the bone that surrounds the dog’s teeth begins to deteriorate. This bone deterioration is irreversible. Having said that, it is treatable to some extent and can help to slow the rate of degeneration.
Professional dental cleaning is the first and most crucial step in treating periodontal disease, regardless of its severity. This treatment is performed under general anesthesia.
#2: Oral Infections
Periodontal disease is the most common cause of oral infections, however, trauma to the mouth can also cause them. Chewing on sharp or hard things can cause cuts and infections in your bichon’s mouth. Periodontal disease causes infection by filling the free space surrounding the tooth roots with germs. A tooth root abscess could also be a sign of the infection.
To battle the infection, pus fills the bacteria-infested area around the tooth root. The abscess can become so enormous that it causes deformities and facial edema in your bichon.
In all dogs including bichons frises, tooth root abscess is a painful illness that requires prompt treatment. An anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, and/or pain reliever will be administered by your dog’s vet to control the infection.
#3: Tartar and Plaque Buildup
The main causes of loose teeth and gum disease are plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is a type of biofilm that forms on the surfaces of the teeth of your bichon. It’s a white substance that’s mainly made up of bacteria. The plaque has a nasty odor that gets worse with time in the mouth of the bichon frise, causing tooth decay and gum infections.
Tartar that sticks to the tooth surfaces of your bichon frise can only be scraped away with a hard tool, such as a professional dental scaler. It causes more gum inflammation and tooth decay when it comes into contact with gums and teeth.
With this issue, just as with all others, prevention is always better than cure. Brushing your dog’s teeth with dog toothpaste regularly is one of the most efficient strategies to decrease and prevent tartar growth and accumulation. Use doggy toothpaste, never human toothpaste!
Some types of human toothpaste contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly found in our food that is notoriously toxic to dogs. In addition, our toothpaste can also contain fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate, also poisonous substances for dogs.
#4: Teeth Fractures
With voracious chewers, tooth fractures are common, especially when hard objects are in play like antlers, hard plastic, and bones. The magnitude of a tooth fracture depends on the magnitude and angle of the bite. A big bite may cause the tooth and chew to line up at an angle, splitting the tooth on the exterior. This is referred to as a slab fracture.
Choose chews that are tiny enough for your bichon frise to hold in his mouth without accidentally swallowing them, but not so big that he needs to chew on them with his mouth fully open.
The diagnosis of vertical root fractures is challenging, and the prognosis is poor. To restore pain-free function, most fractures must be treated. If the nerve is exposed, root canal therapy or extraction are the two most common alternatives. A tooth can be repaired without root canal therapy if the nerve is not exposed. In either case, a visit to the vet is a must.
How to Clean Your Bichon Frise’s Teeth
Starting a dental care routine for your bichon is the best way to prevent teeth problems in the future. Like us, bichons frises benefit from daily brushing to keep their teeth in tip-top shape. Use a dog-only meat-flavored toothpaste, and a soft-bristled finger brush or canine toothbrush.
Start teeth brushing from a young age to get your bichon readily accepting it as part of his daily routine. Treat and praise lavishly while brushing, and he’ll learn that after a daily brush, he gets a yummy treat.
However, as some of us know, try as you might, not all dogs will accept having their teeth brushed! Water, food additives, or dental chews are some of the alternatives. Whatever method you use, make sure you check your bichon frise’s teeth regularly to catch problems early.
If your fur baby is exhibiting signs of dental disease, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The removal of disease-causing tartar often necessitates a professional dental cleaning under anesthetic. After the teeth have been cleaned, the veterinarian can extensively inspect the teeth and can take X-rays to evaluate the extent of the dental illness.
Preventive Bichon Frise Dental Care
As mentioned a number of times, the best way to deal with your bichon frise’s teeth problems is to avoid them in the first place. The three ways you can do so include:
#1: Regular teeth brushing
There are toothbrushes made specifically for dogs’ teeth that are more user-friendly than toothbrushes made for humans. Some come in the shape of little finger caps that you can slide over your index finger and massage the textured surface against the dog’s teeth. A little soft-bristled toothbrush will suffice.
It’s also important to provide them with plenty of chew toys like dental bones and rawhide and feed them a nutritious, high-quality diet.
#2: Look for Dental Chews or Food/Water Supplement
Consider special dental chews or a food/water supplement, if you can’t or won’t brush your dog’s teeth every day or two. The dental chews you provide your furry partner should be easy to digest and the right size. To be effective, dental chews should be provided throughout the day and should be large enough for your bichon frise to chew on for a long time before swallowing.
Using food additives like seaweed can remove tartar and plaque naturally. If you use water additives, make sure you replace the water at least once a day, or as directed by the manufacturer.
#3: Regular Checkups
Vet checkups include a dental check. Whether you suspect gum or periodontal disease or not, consulting a canine medical professional every year or so is always a good idea. Brushing the teeth of a dog with gum disease might be painful, so off to the vet’s you go if you even have an inkling of gum disease.
How Often To Take Your Bichon Frise To The Vet’s For Cleaning?
General health examinations at the veterinarian should be done every six to twelve months. During routine inspections, your veterinarian will check your bichon’s teeth and do other basic health checks to make sure your precious pooch is in tip-top shape.
Some bichons frises require dental cleanings once or twice a year, while others can go longer between cleanings. Veterinary dental cleanings may become more necessary as your dog gets older. Dogs’ periodontal disease, which can be serious, becomes more susceptible as they age. Check with your veterinarian when in doubt.
Periodontal disease is a common condition that afflicts a vast majority of our precious dogs. With proper home care and some professional help, we can help our dogs live long, happy lives with all their teeth!
Remember, though, that any sort of dental issue can become dangerous to your bichon frise’s health and so take him to a vet regularly for prevention – and immediately if you suspect something is wrong.