Maltese dogs are renowned for having bad teeth when they get into their older years. Looking after your Maltese’s dogs teeth throughout its life will significantly reduce vet bills and save your dog from pain from decaying rotten teeth. Understanding the best foods and dental care techniques to keep your Maltese puppy’s teeth clean and sparkling is very important and often overlooked. This article will outline why your Maltese puppy’s teeth are important, how to best take care of them throughout a Maltese dogs life and then how to identify and treat Maltese teeth issues especially as your Maltese dog ages.
Why Taking Care of Maltese Dog Teeth is Very Important
Dental care for your Maltese dog is extremely important for several reasons. These include:
- Teeth don’t grow back: If your Maltese dog loses its adult teeth then they do not grow back. A Maltese puppy will lose its baby teeth during the first few months of its life but the adult teeth are there for the rest of their life. If tooth decay or injury causes teeth to be removed then your Maltese dog will have to adjust to not having as many teeth as before. This can affect their diet as hard dog food such as kibble will need to be substituted with soft dog food.
- Dogs use their Teeth for Everything: A dogs mouth is used just like a person uses their hands. They use their teeth to grab things, eat and for protection. Losing their teeth can be a disability for your Maltese dog so taking care of their teeth is very important.
- Plaque: Plaque is being produced all the time on your dogs teeth. Some of this is removed as your dog uses their mouth to grab things and as they chew on things but not all of it can be removed without a proper dental care routine. plaque will eat away at your dogs teeth over time and eventually cause tooth decay and pain for your Maltese dog.
- Infected Gums: Decaying Maltese teeth which have been affected by plaque can cause inflamed and infections in the gums on your Maltese dog. This can cause pain and complications for your Maltese puppy which will require veterinarian care.
- Tooth Decay: Tooth decay occurs when there is a build up of plaque and tartar on your Maltese dogs teeth. Tooth decay can cause pain and require the removal of teeth in severe cases. Tooth decay is the main cause for Maltese dogs losing their teeth and it can be prevented with proper Maltese dental care.
Tooth Decay and your Maltese Dog
Tooth decay may seem like trivial thing in your Maltese dog but it can become very dangerous. As the tooth decay infects the gums and wears away the teeth bacteria and virus can invade the damaged areas. This can lead to abscesses and serious infections which affect the sinuses, gums and in severe cases can create a sepsis infection. Sepsis is blood poisoning and it can be fatal as it affects the entire body and can damage vital organs.
Another concern is that poor dental hygiene for your Maltese dog could cause gingivitis. Gingivitis affects the gums and will cause redness, soreness and inflammation in the weakened gum line of your Maltese dogs mouth. This can lead to a condition known as Periodontalitis which will cause the loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth. Any loss of bone and soft tissue will affect your Maltese puppy’s ability to use their mouth and can cause significant pain.
If dental hygiene is poor then eventually the tooth decay will cause the Maltese puppy’s teeth to rot to a point where the tooth is so unstable and in such a poor condition that it will fall out. Losing teeth will mean that your Maltese puppy will not be able to eat harder food, and will require special diets as they get older. The pain from poor dental hygiene and tooth decay can result in them not eating much and this can be of great concern for such a small breed dog which are usually picky eaters.
The Best Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay in a Maltese Dog
Many people think that just an odd bone and some toys will keep their Maltese puppy’s teeth clean and healthy. While this is a starting point there are a few other methods which are also suggested and encouraged for the Maltese breed to ensure that their teeth stay in good condition throughout their life.
- Get a veterinarian to check the teeth: If you have an older Maltese dog who has never had their teeth taken care of then you should talk to your local veterinarian so that they can check the current status of the teeth. They will be able to confirm if there are any issues which need to be dealt with, how advanced any tooth decay may be and they will be able to do an initial cleaning if required.
- Do an initial check yourself: You should check your Maltese puppies mouth so that you can tell what looks normal and what might be abnormal. If you regularly look at the teeth you will easily see the first signs of tooth decay and any inflammation on the gums. If you do see tooth decay then it might be worth talking to your veterinarian.
- Create a tooth care routine for your Maltese puppy: It is much easier to instigate a routine with a Maltese puppy then it is with an older Maltese dog but regardless you will need to setup a routine of cleaning their teeth. A young Maltese puppy will learn the routine and it will make cleaning and caring for their teeth a lot easier. Also the more often you brush a Maltese puppy’s teeth the healthier the teeth and the gums will be.
- Purchase a canine toothbrush and toothpaste: You will not be using the same toothbrush and toothpaste that you use each day. Instead you will need to get a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs. The canine toothbrush is shaped and sized to work with a dogs mouth. They come in various sizes and you should be able to get one which fits for the Maltese breed. In particular there are three sided brushes which do the best cleaning but are more uncomfortable for your dog, or an alternative is a finger brush which fits onto your fingers so you get better access to your dogs mouth. Personally, a finger brush should do OK as the Maltese bite is fairly harmless compared to a much larger breed. Canine toothpaste is different to the toothpaste you have and is designed specifically to work for dogs. The main difference is that the toothpaste that you use will foam when used in order to clean all of your mouth but the canine toothpaste will not foam. The canine toothpaste does not foam because the foam has been found to cause issues with dogs breathing it in and choking on it. The other reason you do not want to use dog toothpaste is because it has no fluoride and fluoride has been found to be toxic to dogs. Using the right products will make cleaning your Maltese dogs mouth much easier and safer.
- Scrub the teeth well: Your Maltese may not like the scrubbing motion. Most will find it slightly uncomfortable the first few times but over time your Maltese puppy will learn to tolerate your brushing. Cleaning and scrubbing the teeth with the toothbrush is very similar to how you would brush your own teeth. Use small circles and ensure you include the gums.
- Dental Sprays can help: Brushing is the best way to keep teeth clean but sometimes a Maltese dog is completely against having their teeth brushed. If this occurs your next best option is to use a Dental Spray for your Maltese puppy. Dental sprays require that you keep up the routine of cleaning your dogs teeth as it needs to break down the plaque and tartar regularly or it will not work. These sprays are very easy to use and are less invasive and irritating for your Maltese puppy.
- Dental treats: Some treats you can give your dog will actually help their teeth. These treats are generally very hard and require that your Maltese chew on the treat to get any of it to break off. The constant chewing cleans the plaque and tartar from the teeth. I have found that this can be hit and miss with Maltese dogs as they can be very picky eaters and if they don’t like the treat it will not get chewed. Maltese puppies will need this treat to be small enough for them to get their mouth around it and to be able to carry it so make sure you are checking the size of any Dental treats you purchase. An added benefit of using dental treats is that they will generally also work on ridding bad breath (known as halitosis). When giving your Maltese puppy a dental treat you should always be able to supervise them as they can be a choking hazard if a large chunk breaks off and is swallowed. Generally though they are safe and an easy hands off way to keep your Maltese teeth clean.
How often should you Brush your Maltese dog’s Teeth?
Obviously, the more often your brush the healthier and stronger your Maltese’s teeth will be. As a general guideline you would want to be brushing their teeth at a minimum every couple of days but the best results will be seen by brushing your Maltese puppy’s teeth every day. You could do this routine after they have eaten for example. If you do forget to brush your Maltese’s teeth the best thing to do is to reinstate the habit as soon as possible. Some professional groomers will also offer this service, but as your Maltese puppy will not be groomed every day it is important that you also know how to brush your Maltese puppy’s teeth and can do it as often as necessary.
Maltese Teeth Inspections
Inspecting your Maltese puppies mouth is very important on a regular basis so that you learn to know what a healthy Maltese’s mouth looks like. A few of the things which you should look for include:
- Plaque and tartar: Regular inspections will identify any plaque and tartar build up on the Maltese teeth. These should be obvious with a yellow color on the teeth.
- Inflammation of the gums: You should also look for redness and inflammation of the gums. This is a sign of infections and underlying issues.
- Missing teeth: Any missing teeth should be inspected to ensure the gum is not infected. Sometimes Maltese can knock out a tooth and you want to make sure none of the tooth remains stuck in the gums. If a piece of tooth was stuck in your Maltese puppy’s gums this could cause a serious infection.
- Bad breath: Bad breath is a sign that your Maltese may have bad plague or gingivitis. If you do notice bad breath you should take a closer look at your Maltese mouth and also provide them with some dental treats in order to fix the halitosis (bad breath).
Ensure you keep up a regular routine of checking and brushing your Maltese puppy’s teeth.
Maltese Puppy Teeth – Milk Teeth
Between the ages of 3 weeks old and 8 weeks old the milk teeth will start to appear for a Maltese puppy. Milk teeth are also known as the first teeth, baby teeth and deciduous teeth. Around the third week of the Maltese Puppy’s life the milk teeth will start to push through the gums and can be slightly painful for the puppy.
There are 28 baby teeth which will eventually appear in your Maltese puppy’s mouth.
These baby teeth are not a Maltese puppy’s permanent teeth and they will start to fall out and be replaced by adult teeth. This phase of losing their baby teeth is known as the teething phase. The baby teeth for the Maltese breed will begin to fall out and be replaced between 14 weeks 18 weeks (which is sometime just after the third month of their life). During this teething phase of the Maltese breed all 28 teeth will be eventually replaced with a set of 42 adult teeth. The Maltese dog’s adult teeth are their permanent teeth and these will not grow back if they are lost and this is why it is very important to look after this set of teeth. Remember that a Maltese puppy uses its mouth like you use your hands and so keeping a Maltese puppy’s teeth in their best condition is vital and very important.
Most people will ignore dental care for the Milk teeth because they think that since these baby teeth will fall out anyway there is not need to care for them. This is the wrong attitude to take as setting up routines for your Maltese puppies teeth in the early stages of life will make taking care of their teeth later in life so much easier. It will be easier because they will be comfortable with you checking their mouth and teeth and keeping them clean as that is what has always happened.
Senior Maltese Dog Teeth Care
Senior Maltese dogs have a much higher chance of tooth decay and other mouth issues. This is because of their age and any neglected dental routine throughout their life may start to show the results with rotting teeth and inflamed gums. It is very important to keep an eye on your Maltese dog’s mouth as they get older as any major infection can affect them a lot more at this fragile age. Infections of the mouth can be painful and it can cause them to eat less, which will make them lose weight and be less likely to fight off any viruses and bacterial infections. Rotten teeth can cause infections in the gum line and this can lead to sepsis (blood poisoning) which can be fatal for older dogs as their vital organs are attacked by the infection.
A good brushing routine and dental hygiene throughout the life of your Maltese dog will help to minimize any tooth decay and gum infections later in life and will improve the quality of their life as they enter their senior years.
Maltese Teeth – When to seek Vet Advice
There are several reasons you will want to talk to your vet about your Maltese dogs teeth. These include:
- The teeth look rotten. This could be painful for your Maltese puppy and the teeth may need to be extracted and medication given to stop any infection.
- There is excessive plague and tartar build up and brushing is not able to clear it off. In this case the vet may need to sedate your Maltese puppy and give the teeth a good cleaning.
- The gums are inflamed, red or infected. Your vet may need to prescribe some antibiotics to keep away any possible infection.
- There are broken teeth. These broken teeth may need to be extracted by your veterinarian. They will be able to take an assessment after inspecting the teeth and recommend the next best steps.
- You are concerned about your Maltese puppy in anyway: Anytime you find something concerning on or about your Maltese puppy it is highly recommended that you check with your veterinarian as they are able to inspect your Maltese puppy and have the right training and background to make the best judgement.
How did we go at Answering your Questions on Maltese Teeth and Maltese Dental Care?
Hopefully this article has addressed all of the questions you should have had about Maltese dental care and Maltese puppy teeth care. Cleaning the teeth of your Maltese dog is very important and should be done on a regular daily routine using the right toothbrush and toothpaste. If you think we missed an important sub topic or you have any other further tips which our readers might be able to use then please leave a comment so that we can provide the best possible resource for our readers. Have you ever had Maltese teeth problems before? What did you end up doing about it? What advice did your vet give to you? Let us know.