Why Don’t Dogs Get Cavities

Bacteria are the root cause of dental caries. Bacteria left over from poor dental care cause a chain reaction in the mouth. These bacteria produce acids that corrode teeth, erode enamel, and start the decaying process.

True cavities, or caries as dentists and veterinary dentists refer to them, are fortunately uncommon in dogs .

Canine oral bacteria vary from human ones in that they often do not generate acid buildup that damages teeth.

Most dogs don’t regularly eat foods high in sugar or acid, which promote the growth of harmful germs.

Canine teeth tend to be narrow and pointed rather than flat and grinding, which gives germs less places to establish themselves and cause harm.

Why don’t dogs get cavities?

Dogs are less prone to get cavities than humans are, in large part because of their diet. Your pet will surely eat a lot less food that is high in acid or sugar, which are the main causes of dental decay in humans. Their dental structure is also useful. Because dog teeth are pointed as opposed to flat, the bacteria have less room to grow.

Do dogs commonly develop cavities?

Caries, another name for cavities, affect both humans and dogs for the same reason. They are spots of tooth decay brought on by prolonged contact with the germs present in food. Long-term bacterial growth on the teeth produces an acidic buildup that eats away at the tooth’s outer layers, leading to decay and other problems.

Your dog’s tooth’s root will become eroded over time, and the enamel will eventually be completely destroyed. In extreme circumstances, this might lead to the tooth falling out or necessitating extraction.

Given the low levels of sugars and acids in the majority of dogs’ diets, canine cavities are generally uncommon, but some breeds are more prone to them than others. The likelihood of dental decay is higher in Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Poodles, Dachshunds, Pugs, and Chihuahuas.

Signs Your Dog Might Have A Cavity

Finding the early indications of a cavity before it progresses to the point of extensive tooth decay can be challenging. This is why it’s crucial for your dog to receive routine dental examinations from the veterinarian.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian right away if you observe any of the following symptoms, which could be a sign of a cavity or another concern with your pet’s oral health:

  • excessive salivation
  • any area of the tooth with a black spot
  • Pain or discomfort in the oral region
  • tooth discolouration, particularly near the gum line where there are brown or yellow deposits
  • Food being lost
  • Having no appetite

How To Treat Cavities In Dogs

When a cavity is discovered in your dog’s tooth, your veterinarian will determine the extent of the tooth damage. Damage occurs in 5 stages:

Do dogs develop dental caries?

If their mouths aren’t regularly looked after and cleaned, our dogs could develop a variety of various oral health problems, from gum disease to cavities (also known as tooth decay).

The Cause of Cavities in Dogs

As our dogs eat, the residual food residue is digested by bacteria that naturally reside in their mouths and converted into plaque, just like in people.

Plaque is the waxy substance that builds up on your teeth throughout the course of the day. Over time, plaque’s moderate acidity and stickiness chip away at your dog’s teeth’s outermost layers of protection (as well as causing the mild-to-severe bad breath we often think of as normal more middle-aged or senior dogs).

Cavities, tooth decay, or dental caries are caused by the acidic plaque on your dog’s teeth if the mouth is not kept clean for an extended period of time.

Your dog may be more likely to get cavities if they already have certain oral health issues and don’t get regular cleanings. These consist of:

  • An abundance of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet (often found in poor-quality dog food or high-carb table scraps)
  • general ill health
  • teeth that are crooked or misaligned in your dog’s mouth
  • Gum recession results in gaps between the teeth and the gums.
  • The saliva of your dog has a low pH level.
  • enamel that is thinner than typical (caused by poor mineralization)

The Symptoms of Canine Cavities

Your dog may feel different levels of pain or suffering as a result of their teeth, depending on how bad the cavities are. Cavities are categorized into five phases, from 1 (when only your dog’s enamel has been compromised) to 5, to describe their severity (where the majority of their crown has been lost and their roots are exposed).

Some of the most typical signs of a dental cavity in a dog include the ones listed below:

  • erratically chewing, drooling, or spitting forth food
  • stained teeth
  • Significant Tartar accumulation
  • Loss of oral blood
  • poor breath
  • lack of interest in food or refusal to eat
  • discomfort or enlargement in or near the mouth

Some puppies are so uncomfortable from having cavities that they don’t eat enough (or eating altogether). Bring your dog to your Gilbert vet as soon as you can for a dental examination and treatment if you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Treatments for Your Dog’s Cavity

Cavities in dogs fall into two general categories of therapy: professional treatment of already-existing cavities and preventive treatment of cavities at an early stage of development or before they have a chance to form in your puppy in the first place.

Restorative Dental Treatment For a Canine Cavity

Depending on how severe the cavity is in your dog, a specific therapy may be necessary. Your veterinarian may apply a fluoride wash or bonding agent to protect the spot against further deterioration if you caught a cavity just as it was starting to form, and they will continue to keep an eye on it.

If the cavity in your pet’s tooth has gotten any worse, the diseased enamel, dentin, or pulp will need to be removed, and the tooth will need to be replaced with a filling, a root canal, or another restorative procedure. In order to prevent additional harm to your dog’s oral health, if the cavity has advanced far enough (to stages 4 or 5), the tooth may not actually be treated and may need to be removed from their mouth.

Although your dog may just require particular after-care to avoid damaging their mouth or their new filling, recovery following filling or tooth removal treatments is frequently rather swift.

Routine Care to Prevent Cavities

Maintaining a regular practice of oral hygiene care at home with specialist toothbrushes and toothpaste in textures and tastes specifically developed for canine mouths is by far the most effective approach to preserve your dog’s dental and general health, as well as battle cavities.

Make sure to visit our Gilbert veterinarians at least once a year for a professional dental checkup and cleaning treatment in addition to providing your dog with at-home oral health care. This will offer us the chance to perform a more comprehensive hygiene cleaning of your dog’s teeth and to find cavities while they are just starting to form and when they can be avoided.

Why do cats and dogs not develop cavities?

Have you ever puzzled why your pet, who has never been to the dentist, doesn’t appear to have even the slightest dental issue while you, after receiving lifetime dental care, are still susceptible to developing cavities? The truth is that your pets can and do get cavities, but much less frequently than people do. Sharks, on the other hand, are in a class by themselves and never develop cavities. Inquiring as to why?

Our animal buddies are able to escape the drill for three main reasons: their food, the type of bacteria that inhabits their mouths, and their accessibility to veterinary dental treatment. Let’s examine how this transpires:

  • Diet: Having a choice is good. particularly in terms of the food we decide to eat every day. And, to be honest, most of us scarcely pay attention to our teeth while doing so. To find out what folks would prefer for supper tonight, simply ask. Most people will eventually request pizza, burgers, ribs, and cereal—all of which are loaded with sugar. or, to be more precise, carbs. Additionally, sugar is bad for teeth, as we all know.

The luxury of choice is not available to your pet, though. The end result is a diet with extremely low levels of fermentable carbs that is suited to their health. And better teeth result from a low-sugar diet. Of instance, certain animals (perhaps table scrapers) do get cavities, but the prevalence is quite low—around 5%. Diet is therefore the main factor. In fact, if you stop to think about it, animals might actually have it better than us even if they aren’t allowed to choose their own dinner! Seriously. In a way, pet food manufacturers serve as the personal nutritionist for pets, creating meals in cans that are tailored to their needs in terms of nutrition. Then you shop for them, prepare the meal, serve it, and finish the unpleasant task of cleaning up. Amazing offer!

  • Their Bacterial Microsystem: The other significant factor in why pets typically live cavity-free lives has to do with the kinds of bacteria that establish residence in a pet’s mouth (which, as you’ll see, goes hand in hand with diet). Your pet’s mouth is filled with microorganisms, some healthy and some bad, much like a human’s. The primary causative agent of cavities in both humans and animals is the bacterium Streptococcus mutans. However, since animals don’t eat a lot of carbs, this particular bacterium isn’t overly prevalent in their mouths. Thus, there are less cavities as a result. On the other hand, Porphyromonas, a family of bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontal disease, is more prevalent in them. Why are they more likely than humans to have this kind of bacteria in their mouths? mostly because they don’t brush. leading us to the “dentist,”
  • Doggie Dental: Since dental health isn’t a common concern in veterinary care, it’s fair to say that pet owners don’t actually make plans for their animals’ oral health. Most veterinarians use a watch and wait strategy because they lack the tools or the knowledge necessary to fix holes. Unfortunately, most animals develop cavities to the point when a doctor’s recommendation to pull a tooth because of swelling around it serves as your only warning. Because of this, our veterinarians frequently talk to us about infected teeth rather than cavities, which makes us unaware of the true need for the necessary operation and reinforces the myth that pets don’t acquire cavities. Pet dental care is only now beginning to get traction, so if your veterinarian brings it up to you, you should be grateful for their concern for your pet’s wellbeing. Watch out for your pet’s poor breath as well. They really shouldn’t have a bad mouth.

How many dogs have dental problems?

Caries is the term used for cavities in dentistry. The Latin word meaning decay is caries. The term “cavity” is used in human dentistry to refer to the decay-induced “cavity” that develops. A bacterial decay of the tooth’s structure constitutes true caries. When bacteria break down fermentable carbohydrates, acids are produced that permeate into the enamel and break down the tooth.

Carious lesions have weakened enamel and dentin as well as a dark coloring and unpleasant odor. Due to the exposed pulp and subsequent dentin and deterioration within the underlying tooth structure, caries can be exceedingly painful. The maxillary first molar teeth in dogs are the most frequently affected by caries. The occlusal surface of a tooth, which is used to grind food, is where caries typically develop.

Detection and Treatment of Cavities in Dogs

Dental radiographs and specialized dental tools are used to identify and treat carious lesions. Similar to humans, dogs can have modest to severe cavities. Enamel and dentin degradation occurs in mild to moderate lesions without pulp exposure. Pulp exposure is common in severe lesions and frequently necessitates extraction in canine patients. If left untreated, caries are painful and will worsen.

Restoration therapy can be used to cure cavities that do not expose the pulp and return the tooth to its pre-caries state. The carious tissue must first be removed before a composite material and sealant are applied. A veterinarian dentist who has received board certification can carry out this surgery. The tooth can be extracted if referral is not chosen.

Prevalence of Cavities in Dogs

In dogs, dental caries are prevalent. In one study, it was discovered that 5.3% of dogs had cavities. However, cats do not have dental cavities. Tooth resorption and enamel flaws are two more dental diseases that resemble dental caries.

Due to the conical shape of their teeth and the absence of fermentable sugar in their diet, dogs are less likely than humans to develop cavities. Additionally, preventing dogs from consuming sweet and carb-based treats and supplements might help lower the likelihood of it happening. Caries can be be avoided with regular dental care from both you and your veterinarian. Our Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Loveland pet dental care experts advise scheduling an annual dental examination for your dog to check for cavities and gum disease.

Do dogs typically develop cavities?

Dental caries, which is the medical term for cavities brought on by tooth decay, are uncommon in our veterinary patients but prevalent in humans. In 1962, the first case of dental caries in domesticated dogs was reported. 1 According to the NIH, between the ages of 20 and 64, 92 percent of adult humans develop cavities in their permanent teeth. Dogs rarely develop caries; a study of 435 dogs found that the frequency was under 5%. 2 Cats rarely develop dental caries (almost nonexistent).


What distinguishes caries from the more prevalent veterinary condition known as tooth resorption? The appropriate bacteria (often Streptococcus mutans) and carbohydrate substrates are both necessary for S. mutans to produce the acids that eat away at a tooth’s surface, which is the cause of caries. Even that is frequently insufficient to induce cavities. A hereditary predisposition for a tooth’s aberrant development to allow the enamel to be pierced by these acids occurs frequently. The term for the most prevalent kind of caries lesions is “Caries known as pit-and-fissure are most frequently found on the occlusal surfaces of molars. Caries with pits and fissures can appear as “A tip-of-the-iceberg problem occurs when there is a minor enamel defect but a large amount of dentin involvement beneath the enamel. Smooth-surface caries and root caries are two more forms of caries that can happen but are less frequent.