Dental Disease or Gum Inflammation

dog oral health

MyGermanShepherd Health ManualGingivitis, Periodontitis, and related oral infections are a progressive disease, describing the condition of infected gums (gingiva is the name of the gumline around the base of the teeth).

Periodontitis is a follow-up of Gingivitis, describing the condition where Gingivitis has progressed to receding gum tissue, creating pockets of no tissue around the base of the teeth. This gum disease may, and typically will, over time also lead to Caries (tooth decay).

easy oral health

Trigger of Dental Disease, or more precisely would be Gum Disease, is an overgrowth of bacteria in the plaque layer that is formed on the teeth when the bacteria naturally occuring in the mouth feed on carbohydrates. In particular on sugars; less so on starches, and even less on fibers - all of which are carbohydrates.

Thus the cause of Dental Disease and Gum Disease is a poor diet rich in sugars: Sucrose, Fructose, Galactose, Lactose, Maltose, Glucose/Dextrose, Corn Syrup.

Poor oral hygiene will aggravate and accelerate the disease, but is no more than a trigger because a diet that contains no carbohydrates at all would not result in these types of Dental Disease and Gum Disease even if you never brushed the teeth.

Periodontitis is the single most common type of Gum Disease in dogs. It is a progressive disease because it spreads with the bacteria all around the mouth tissue, over time even leading to the loss of teeth.

In fact, ultimately Gum Disease can trigger further ailments down the digestive system because the overgrowth of bacteria is ingested with food and water on a daily basis.

Who Suffers Dental Disease or Gum Inflammation

Affected are dogs (and people) that eat much sweetened foods (or outright sweets) yet don't compensate for this with immediate tooth-brushing.

Note that industrial pet "food" is both sweetened and salted to extend shelf life. Even where the label of a bag or tin suggests it doesn't contain much carbohydrates (because starchy foods have been left out, which is rare: carbohydrates are cheapest), sugars and salts are added to the product content (but hidden from the label) to make the bag or tin last longer. You could say, to prevent that the waste goes to waste.

Waste? Indeed, industrial pet "food" is waste from rendering plants. The large bags and tins in the pet "food" aisle all are industrially manufactured.

The same (sweetening and salting to extend shelf life) is with human-grade tin food, as I am currently reminded every day since there is no way to cook yet in our tiny house truck: The only tins I can find here (of foods that I like to eat myself, thus can share with the dog) that have next to no added sugar and salt are ... peas and champignons! Every other tin contains 1% to 2% salt, in addition to sugar, which is way too much.

Peas and champignons. Not a great variety at the moment, I can tell you. Miguel can't "stand" peas anymore. Yet amazing site member Mark sent us a solar cooking tube, thus soon I should be able to cook again and provide variety, yeah!

As we are at the topic, here's where human-grade tin food differs from pet-grade tin food:

Thanks to enforced laws concerning human-grade foods, our foods are actively sought to be free of toxins. Conversely, thanks to no enforcement for animal-grade foods, pet "food" is actively sought to be full of toxins: the incineration processing is known to create new toxins in addition to those in the waste that enters the incinerator.

At least, those toxins don't contribute to Dental Disease and Gum Inflammation.

The "kibble clean" myth

By the way, it is a myth that when you feed "dry food" (kibble) it would promote oral health. But kibble does promote mouth cancer and a slew of other disorders, that is true, because industrial kibble is toxic and some of those toxins are carcinogenic, the others are allergenic.

The reason for it being a myth is, there is a big difference between shiny teeth and oral health:

Kibble often makes shiny teeth because dogs do not swallow kibble in whole, and the grinding motion of a hard dry mass over teeth removes the dark-yellow to brown colored plaque and tartar, common sense. So the teeth seem cleaner when you feed kibble. This explains the myth.

But the grinding motion of a hard dry mass over teeth also removes the protective bacterial layer and inflames the gumline. And this is exactly why dogs confined to "dry food" (kibble) so often experience mouth infections and early decay. The other reason is the toxins that kibble contains weaken the immune system to fight those infections.

Like for like, dogs that get homemade food ("table scraps") do not have the shiny teeth of kibble dogs, but much better oral health.

Not to forget: Inadequate toothbrushing (too harsh) causes lesions at the gumline which too result in Gum Disease and Dental Disease. Hence why I now link oral hygiene for dogs for a second time.

Warning Signs

  • bad breath
  • gum recession
  • digestive disorders
  • poor appetite due to pain
  • ulcers in the mouth
  • bleeding gums
  • tooth loss
  • tooth extrusion
  • bloat
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • temperature sensitivity (eg of drinking water)
  • feeding any kind of sweetened or very starchy foods or even industrial pet "food".

Preventing Dental Disease and Gum Inflammation

Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?





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    I have a 5 month old rottie/gs female pup and having her teeth changing and adult ones coming through (losing puppy ones) But puzzling thing is all the back of her gums are Black is that normal or should I take her to the vets ???????


      Ours aren't BLACK anywhere, but dog gums are naturally darker and lighter in different places.
      A vet visit is good anyway, get a full health check at that age, hm?


    I have a shepard that is about 9 months old. He looks like he has a skin tag on the upper portion of his gums. Have you heard of anything like that? I am taking him to be neutered soon but just wondering what it could be.


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