5 Ear-Perking Facts About Dog Smiles

Aug 24, 2015

By Bryana Allen, Delta Dental WA

Though National Dog Day (August 24) has come and gone, it’s always a perfect time to celebrate our furry, faithful, tail-wagging best friends. Since dogs are the givers of so many smiles, we thought we’d take a closer look at their smiles.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

Puppies “teethe” just like babies – Puppies are born with their teeth just below the gums like people. Their needle-sharp puppy teeth “erupt” between 2 and 3 weeks. And, just like babies, puppies “teethe.” They’ll chew on anything and everything to help those puppy teeth come through.

Puppies lose their puppy teeth – Buddy’s puppy, or deciduous, teeth will fall out to make room for her larger, permanent teeth. Puppies have 28 teeth while dogs have 42 teeth. That’s more teeth than humans! Human babies only have 20 teeth while adults have 32.

Dog teeth need brushing, too – Roughly 85% of dogs over 4, or 35 in human years, have some form of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that causes pain and discomfort. And, just like in people, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.  That’s why it’s extremely important to care for your dog’s teeth. Feed them dry food and give them tartar-control treats. Brush their teeth once a week with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste found at your local pet store. Take them to the vet if you notice their gums are bleeding because they may need professional cleaning and care.

Dogs DON’T have cleaner mouths than humans – Buster’s tongue picks up all the germs and bacteria our hands do throughout the day. He uses his mouth to carry everything from his favorite toy to the ‘cow chip’ he found exploring the pasture near grandma’s house. It’s just one more reason to brush his teeth. Just like us, brushing Buster’s teeth also helps remove bacteria from his mouth.

Dog licks are like kisses – Dogs lick each other and you for a lot of reasons. Mostly, it’s a sign of affection and respect—just like a human kiss. Don’t worry if Fido gives you a big, wet kiss. His licks can be a safer bet than kissing another person because most cavity-causing bacteria are species specific.

To learn more about your dog’s smile and keeping it healthy, talk to your veterinarian.

Visit the Germnasium in Wellbody Academy to learn more about keeping your own smile healthy.