One common disease is gingivitis. Over time, food will trap between teeth and as the food rots bacteria will grow. Plaque will begin to form if this remains and can also become quite harmful, eventually affecting the kidneys and heart. As the disease progresses you will notice bad breath, bleeding gums and teeth that either have 'pockets' or are loose. It is also extremely painful for your dog.
Stomatitis, or 'sore mouth' is another periodontal disease. When harmful bacteria is again ignored, it carries from the teeth and gums to the tongue and around the mouth. Gums bleed, the tongue will have pustules and your dog will refuse to eat. Stomatitis cannot be cured by itself and your dog will also be in great pain and unable to eat.
At any time in a dog's life cancerous tumors can develop anywhere in the mouth. Your veterinarian can remove these by surgery if they are small. Unfortunately, these tumors usually grow in older dogs. If neglected, they are likely to travel throughout the body. It is advisable to visit your veterinarian frequently so that any possible problem can be checked and halted.
So that oral disease is avoided, establishing a regular habit of teeth-cleaning from an early age is suggested. Feeding your dog with a quality nutritional dog food containing vitamins and minerals will help prevent illness. Chew bones are easily found and these help to scrape tartar build-up on his teeth. An occasional raw bone would make him even happier and do the same job as he gnaws and chews on it. Your butcher can provide tasty marrow bones or a cut-up beef soup bone. Never give cooked bones.
Dog toothpaste, gels, sprays and brushes are available at most pet stores now. Do not use human toothpaste as dogs cannot spit it out and the ingredients are harmful. Have your veterinarian show you how to clean your dog's teeth. If you have a puppy, this should be easy and quick for him to learn. If your dog is older it may take a few days practice using just your finger before introducing either the toothbrush or a finger-brush (which may be easier to control). Brushing last thing at night is best, since the gel or toothpaste can work well with saliva all night. Remove the water dish and replace first thing in the morning. Work up to doing this every night and your dog will grow to look forward to it. Be patient and give lots of praise.