What’s in a dog’s mouth
- Incisors, those six, flat, small teeth in the front of the muzzle between the fangs on the upper jaw and lower jaw. These teeth allow a dog to pick things up, scrape scraps of meat off bones and nibble fleas and other irritants away from his coat or skin.
- Canines, or fangs, to grab and hold food, prey or toys.
- Premolars, there are four of these teeth behind each fang, for chewing. If you hand a dog a toy or a bone, he will take it with his fangs and incisors and then settle down to chew on the sides of his mouth.
- Molars. There are two on each side of the upper jaw just behind the premolars, and three on each side of the lower jaw just behind the premolars. These are the bone-crushing teeth. A mastiff can bite down with a force of more than 550 pounds of pressure. (By comparison, a lion or a white shark have bite forces of about 600 pounds.)
The price of tooth decay
If a dog’s teeth aren’t cleaned, a film of bacteria coats the teeth. This is plaque. It begins to harden as saliva washes over the teeth, leaving behind minerals. In about 10 days, it becomes rock hard calculus or tartar. Tartar’s rough surface encourages more bacteria and plaque.
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Staining (yellowish, brownish or crusty white) on the teeth along the gum line
- Bad breath
- Loose or missing teeth
Vet office dental care
Dog dental care and health problems
Factoids about dogs’ teeth
- Dogs have 28 “puppy” or milk teeth. (We only have 20.)
- At four months, the puppy begins to get a set of 42 adult teeth. (We only have 32 permanent teeth.)
- Puppies loose their incisors first, then fangs and lastly premolars
- The larger the dog and the wider its jaw, the more bite force the dog is capable of.
- While a mastiff has a bite force of 552 pounds, a human can only produce 120 pounds of bite pressure.
- The average claims amount submitted for dog teeth cleaning by Veterinary Pet Insurance policyholders is $292.
Check these related posts out:
- High cost — and value — of dental care for dogs, May 8, 2019.