Interesting Facts and Variations in Canine Teeth
Even though we consider dogs part of our family, how much do we know about their physiology and health? What are the most common diseases? What is the best way to take care of your dog? How to choose the best food and supplements? This and many other questions pose a challenge when it comes to canine health and well-being.
For instance, did you know that dental disease is one of the most common disorders reported in canines? In fact, 80% of dogs tend to develop some sort of periodontal disease by the age of two. Regular dental care is recommended, but let's see what else you should know about your pet's teeth.
Dogs go through two sets of teeth
Like people, dogs have baby teeth which they later replace. These teeth, also known as milk or deciduous, are nearly the same as adult dog teeth but slightly smaller. Between four and six months of age, these teeth start to exfoliate.
In humans, this process tends to last for a couple of years, while in dogs, the transition is pretty fast and they lose their baby teeth in a matter of weeks. The tooth will become loose and eventually fall out.
Compared to humans, adult dogs have more teeth
When puppies, canines have 28 deciduous teeth that they shed to make room for permanent adult teeth. Adult canines have 42 teeth, while humans have 32.
Adult dog teeth start forming before canines are born and later on, when your dog is old enough, they push through into position as their milk counterparts are shed.
Dogs use their teeth differently than we do
When it comes to appearance and chemical structure, dogs have teeth that are similar to ours. However, their shape and size differ significantly. You've probably noticed that their long and pointy canines are the most prominent teeth.
They are primarily designed for pulling, lifting, grasping and defence if needed. Dogs also come equipped with the big carnassial teeth that enable slicing action.
Human teeth grind against one another, crushing the food, which isn't the case with canine teeth. Dogs can't smash their food because their teeth aren't meant to work that way.
Canine teeth root structure is slightly different
The dog's root structure is similar to humans; however, they have three upper molars with two roots and two lower molars with three roots. Their roots are quite long and if you ever saw a canine's tooth, you would be surprised by its length.
In most cases, the visible crown represents only one-third the length of the tooth, while for the incisor teeth, the crown is only about one-fourth the length of the tooth. So you get the picture of how long their teeth can be.
Cavities rarely happen
Dogs rarely have cavities because the bacteria in their mouth isn't the same as ours. As you probably know, specific bacteria that live on the flat surface of our teeth cause cavities to appear. Dogs don't eat sugar like humans, which is one of the main causes of cavities. Bacteria that cause cavities in dogs are extremely rare.
Even if your pet develops some sort of cavities, it might be caused by sweet treats like sweet potatoes and bananas. The treatment involves the following: the cavities are removed and replaced with a composite filling.
The dog's bite force is between 250-325 PSI (pounds per square inch), while an average person has a bite force between 120-220 PSI. A domesticated dog doesn't have a bite force as strong as you think.
For example, a two-pound Macaw has a bite force of 375 PSI, close to a wild wolf with a bite force of 400 PSI. Some breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier have a pretty bad rap. Even though considered vicious and a big dog, the Pit Bull Terrier has one of the lowest bite forces.
Of course, that bite force will depend on the size and breed of your dog. Rottweilers and Shepherds have the strongest bite among domestic dogs.
Dogs require regular teeth cleaning
Consider getting a dog toothbrush and paste and start cleaning your pets' teeth regularly. This is an essential step in their healthcare routine so don't skip it. Dogs rely on us to help them clean their teeth.
This also means taking them to the vet for regular dental exams to ensure they don't have cavities, broken teeth or gum diseases. Dental problems can be painful for dogs of any age, so make sure their teeth are nice and healthy.
Dental canine chart
Dogs have four types of teeth you should know about, so here is the puppy teeth chart:
Incisors are named first, second and third based on their location in the mouth. It needs to be six incisors in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw and they are used for grooming and shearing.
Dogs have two large canines in the upper and lower jaw. They are designed to tear and grasp food with tremendous pressure.
Premolars and molars
Premolars are used for shearing due to their sharp edges. Dogs have four premolar teeth on each side of their upper and lower jaws. When it comes to molars, dogs have four, two on each side of the upper jaw and six, three on each side in their lower jaw. Molars are designed for grinding due to their flat surface.
Carnassial teeth are 1st lower molars and 4th upper molars. With their help canines can tear flesh.
When it comes to a dog's teeth composition, the enamel is the hardest tissue that covers the crown. The cementum covers the root and it's attached to the periodontal ligament. Dentin makes up the bulk of the tooth, while the inside of the tooth is composed of live tissue.
Choosing the best dogs dental sticks
With so many factors to consider, choosing dental sticks for your dog is not easy. Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
Choose the right type
There are many different shapes, textures and other qualities to choose from when picking dental sticks. While some are long and stick-like, others are star-shaped. We personally recommend the second one because star-shaped dental sticks can effectively reduce tartar and plaque buildup.
When buying any chew, you need to consider your dog's age, the health of its teeth and chewing behaviour. For instance, pups with sensitive gums require dental sticks that have a softer texture, while canines that enjoy gnawing will prefer tougher chews.
Check the ingredients
Make sure you understand all the ingredients listed on the label. Here are the things you should look for:
- Natural, high-quality ingredients
- No generic ingredients or names you don't understand
- No ingredients that will trigger allergies or stomach sensitivities
- You should know the location where chews are made
It is important to know how to read a label because it will help you determine whether a particular product is good for your pet or not.
Choose the right size
These products come in different sizes, so they need to match your pup's mouth size and daily caloric intake. Picking the right size dental stick for your dog helps you avoid an upset tummy from overeating or swallowing too big chunks.
Also, the right size dental sticks should last the appropriate amount of time for your dogs. If you buy them a treat that's too small, they will finish it quickly, which means it won't clean their teeth properly. If a dental stick is too large, it may cause jaw injuries and digestion issues.
Vitamins for dogs dental health
Getting your dog some vitamins that will improve their dental health and overall well-being is not as easy as you think. It's easy to get lost in all the options; that's why you need to keep in mind the following features:
Price: Often dog owners will buy supplements just because they are on sale, which is not something we recommend. Investing in high-quality supplements means investing in your dog's health.
Quality: These products have higher standards, won't break as easily and will last longer. If the company has been around for quite some time, it's usually a good indicator that they are making high-quality products; otherwise, it wouldn't have survived.
Components: good supplements should contain the following components: glucosamine, magnesium, turmeric, zinc, iron, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, copper, cobalt and folic acid, just to name a few.
Dental hygiene is a crucial step in maintaining your pet's overall health. Healthy teeth enable your dog to chew food properly and prevent stomach issues. In this article, we covered some basic topics we believe are beneficial or your dog's oral health. Ensure your dog has healthy and strong teeth.