With the title, ‘How Many Teeth Does An Adult Dog Have ?’ it comes into mind the unseen parts of our pet dogs which are their teeth. Pet owners take care of their dogs in terms of nutrition, hygiene, and manners. However, there are times that some parts are neglected considering that they are not easily seen such as teeth. True enough that the dog’s teeth on the front are visible, but what about those on the insides? Are they in good condition too?
Dogs’ teeth are very important on their lives as much as our human teeth are important to us. Dogs use their teeth to chew their food and playfully pick and nibble dog toys. The teeth of the adult dogs are also used to attack and bite anyone they think as threats and danger to them or the family that they protect. With such importance, it is best that we take care of our dog’s teeth and in order to do so, we need to know how many teeth do adult dogs have for us to properly check their conditions.
The Sets Of Teeth That Dogs Has
Before proceeding to answer the question of how many teeth do adult dogs have, we need to understand first how their teeth develops from infancy going to adulthood. We need to know how many number of sets they have because each of these sets are to serve a major purpose for the dog’s needs and development.
Dogs have two sets of teeth: MILK and ADULT.
Milk teeth are the first set of a puppy’s teeth. It is called such because it comes out from the gums during the time that puppies are feeding on milk. This first set of teeth does not have any molars yet since small puppies have no use for them at such a young age. However, do not get deceived because even if they have no molars, the milk teeth of a puppy is still sharp and tiny. The milk teeth are replaced permanently by a set of adult teeth after they reach 4 months.
- Adult teeth are definitely bigger than the milk teeth and they are already rooted strongly on the gums of your dogs which will secure their teeth for life, unless some problems occur.
How Many Teeth Does An Adult Dog Have?
Puppies who have milk teeth have only 28 teeth in total which are replaced when they already hit adulthood. The adult dog’s teeth are completed at the time they are 6 months old which will generate 42 strong and healthy teeth. These 42 strong teeth are further classified into four different types with each type having its own purpose and uses for your canine.
The one that you can see at the front of your dog’s mouth is what we call the incisors. Incisors are small and assist dogs in grooming themselves because this particular type is being used to chew coats and relieve burs, fleas and mats. There are six incisors on top and another six at the bottom of their teeth which they also use in order for them to remove the meat from the bone.
Canines, or also known as fangs, are relatively sharp and have point edge. These are found on both sides of your dog’s mouth (2 fangs on top and another 2 fangs below, which are separated by the 6 incisors). Fangs can hold deeper into things because it has a stronger grasp compared to other teeth. When a dog bites a human, fangs break our skin and leave its marks. Moreover, dogs use their fangs in order for them to pierce things they want and need.
Premolars are found after the fangs. This particular type of teeth are the ones held responsible for chewing. For example, when you have a toy for your dog, he will use his fangs and incisors to grab it up and then transfer the chewing responsibility to the premolars. Premolars are also used to shear and rip meat off from its bone. In total, an adult dog has 16 premolar teeth which are located on the upper left side (4), upper right side (4), lower left side (4), and lower right side (4).
Molars are responsible for all the hard work that the dog’s teeth are doing because they do the heaviest work of breaking and grinding the hard things like dog biscuits, bones and large kibbles. You can find 10 molars on your dog: 2 on each side of the top jaw, and 3 on each side of the lower jaw.
Is Brushing Important On The Over-All Health Of Your Dog’s Teeth?
The answer to that question is a resounding YES! Definitely brushing is important for a dog as it is important for humans. As a matter of fact, and according to a study conducted by the Purdue University, it has been found out that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease that might affect the over-all wellness of your dog. Once there is an assemblage of tartar on the gum line, anaerobic bacteria will flourish and will go to the roots of the teeth. This will cause the teeth to fall down and the gums will become an open gateway to your blood stream. Bacteria will enter your blood stream, travel through your system and ultimately resides in your dog’s heart. You might not notice the effect just yet, however, once these bacteria accumulates, it will become a plaque and will gradually develop into a heart disease which can cause the death of your canine.
You need to check out for the signs and symptoms of a gum problem to ensure that immediate treatment can be made and prevent the progression to heart disease. These signs and symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Swelling of the gums
- Teeth missing
- White or yellowish tartar building up along the gumline
Aside from this gum disease, there are also other dental diseases that you need to watch out for that requires treatment and proper dental care:
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- Long lasting foul breath
- Infection of the teeth and gums
- Tumors and cysts found in the mouth
These are early warning signs of poor dental hygiene, and once you see these signs in your dog, it is best that you need to consult professional assistance immediately to prevent further damage and complications:
- Broken and missing teeth
- Reddening and swelling of gums
- Bleeding gums
- Foul breath odor
- Loss of appetite
- Bloody saliva
- Excessive drooling
- Tartar build-up
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
The teeth of the adult dog require constant care and meticulous cleaning. However, as they are animals, most dogs are not very much accustomed to the idea of brushing their teeth and this may serve as a challenge for a dog owner like you. In order to address the issue, it is best that you start brush training for your dog as early as you can while they are still small.
You need take the process one-step at a time in order to make them feel at ease and comfortable about teeth brushing. Before starting to brush your dog’s teeth, it is best to remember these tips:
- Start massaging their lips using your fingers. Massage it on a circular motion for a minute either once or twice a day; you can also make them feel acquainted on the idea of tooth brushing by starting one-step at a time. Massage their lips using your fingers in a circular motion for a minute once or twice a day for several weeks. The circular motion and massaging of the lips will make your dog feel comfortable about the sensation brought about by brushing and this will help you proceed to the mouth and gums easier.
- Use a medium-bristle toothbrush and plain water only.
- Do not use human toothpaste because they are distasteful for your dog. You may also use a dog toothpaste which is available on different flavors that suits the liking of your dog.
If you already made the preparations and you now want to proceed with the process of tooth brushing your dog, you may proceed in doing so by the following steps:
- Apply a small amount of toothpaste on the brush, or you may simply brush without using any paste as long as you are able to wet the brush with water to ensure that the bristles will be softened.
- Open your dog’s mouth a little to insert the toothbrush. Take note that you should not forcefully open it because you might get further resistance, and the worst is that your dog will become aggressive and bite you for forcing him.
- Brushing should start along the gum line located at the back, and proceed by moving the brush bristles forward to the incisors.
- While on the process of brushing, it is best if you wash/rinse the toothbrush with plain water as often as you can.
The Job Of A Professional Veterinarian
When we can’t remove tartar and other problems both in dental and general well-being of our dogs, we tend to seek professional help from licensed veterinarians. With their help, we ensure that everything will be thoroughly checked and that our pet is well-taken care of.
A veterinarian will conduct an oral exam to your dog to assess and look for possible dental problems. The vet will do the following during oral exams:
- Assess your dog’s head for any problems such as discharges, asymmetry and swelling.
- Check how your dog bites as well as the external surface of the gums and teeth.
- Inspect the inside of your dog’s mouth including teeth, tongue, gums, oral mucosa, palates and tonsils.
- Examine the shape and size of salivary glands, and check for the presence of lymph nodes usually around the neck.
When everything is done and there is a build-up of tartar and plaques, you should let the veterinary do the cleaning as it will not be removed by a normal and regular tooth brushing. This will not only remove the tartar build-up, but will also help your dog’s teeth to shine better.
The oral dental care procedure will be as follows:
- Anesthesia is given to your dog.
- X-rays is recommended to check for the condition of the teeth and bones inside your dog’s mouth.
- Flush the mouth with an antibacterial solution.
- Clean the teeth using scalers while removing all calculi from the top and bottom of the gums.
- If there are still some calculi left, a disclosing solution is used to get rid of it.
- The dog’s teeth will be polished to remove any scratches.
- Inspect the gum and tooth again to make sure that there are no more dental issues.
- Flush the mouth with an antibacterial solution again.
- Record the findings and evaluation on your dog’s chart for his next visit, and provide teaching for things needed to be done at home.
- Schedule next visit with the veterinary.
With such new found knowledge about dogs’ teeth, how many teeth does an adult dog have and how to properly brush and take care of them, it is important that you should be hands-on in taking care of your dog’s dental hygiene. Remember, there might be some similarities between dogs and humans, but dogs are still dogs and they cannot brush themselves without our help.
If you are a certified dog lover, you know for a fact that a dog’s life is also important. Dogs are a man’s best friend and they are very much helpful and loyal especially to those human beings that they are comfortable with. They are our protector, hence, a perfect and stronger teeth is required from them to help scare enemies off and ensure that everything is okay and will be okay. The teeth of an adult dog should not be taken lightly but rather seriously as their teeth are one of the best parts of their well-being.