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Health & Wellness

Why do adult dogs’ teeth fall out?

And how to stop this from happening

Your dog uses their mouth for just about anything (like those endless games of tug-of-war), so if they lose an adult tooth, you may wonder how this could affect them. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough shares all you need to know about tooth loss in adult dogs. 

Why do adult dogs lose their teeth? 

It’s pretty uncommon for adult dogs to lose teeth. But if they do, periodontal disease (when bacteria forces the gum lines to recede, leading to tooth loss) could be the cause. If you think your dog has periodontal disease, talk to your vet about the best treatment options. In the meantime, look out for these symptoms: 

+ Gingivitis (gray, yellow coloring on the teeth caused by bacteria buildup)

+ Bad breath

+ Lack of appetite

+ Disinterest in playing with toys

+ Blood on their toys

+ Loose teeth

+ Lethargy

+ Drooling

+ Dropping food or chewing on one side of the mouth

+ Unusual head shyness (they won’t let you touch their head)

+ Mouth trauma, take your dog to a vet to make sure they’re not suffering from an injury

What does adult tooth loss say about your dog’s health?

Your dog needs regular teeth cleaning

It’s important to take your pup to get routine professional teeth cleanings from a young age (your vet can clarify when to start and how often). Daily at-home cleanings using a toothbrush, if they’re comfortable, or a washcloth over your finger are recommended, too. 

Your dog may be in pain

It’s also a good idea to get your pup checked out since they might be in pain — dental issues like gingivitis, inflammation and other signs of periodontal disease can be really uncomfortable. 

What do you do if your adult dog loses a tooth? 

If your adult dog loses a tooth, have your vet or a veterinary dentist assess your dog’s oral health. They will likely run a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment test (COHAT) to thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth and take X-rays. 

How to prevent periodontal disease in adult dogs 

There are some things you can do to prevent adult dogs from developing periodontal disease. First, ask your vet how regularly your dog should have professional dental cleaning (usually it’s every 6 to 12 months). Practicing daily brushing at home will also help prevent periodontal disease. 

Do some breeds experience adult tooth loss more than others? 

Toy breeds or brachycephalic pups — which are pups with broad heads, like pugs or French bulldogs — will lose teeth more easily because of their smaller mouths. Those crowded teeth make it easier for debris to build up, which can lead to increased bacteria. 

We know how much you care about your dog — especially their comfort. By following our tips, your pup can enjoy chewing on their favorite toy for many years to come. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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