If you do not look in your pet's mouth you are not the only one but you should definitely start. You can notice not only what a normal mouth looks like but you can also start to recognise the first stages of dental disease before it gets worse and becomes expensive to treat.
This appears to be a healthy mouth above the gum line. This is what we, as pet owners, strive to keep our pets mouth's looking like.
Mild gingivitis is shown on both canine teeth and tartar is forming on all circled teeth. Red gums are an inflammatory response to the bacteria from the tartar that is close to the gum line. We want to prevent this stage of dental disease with home care like tooth brushing, oral rinses, and dental chews. If no home care is done it will lead to the next stage of dental disease.
In this case, more tartar is covering that back tooth. The gums are black so it is difficult to determine the amount of gingivitis. In this stage of dental disease less than 50% of the teeth have tartar on them. Tartar can not be brushed off so at this point it is important to insure that the other teeth and gums are getting some TLC.
This stage of dental disease is extremely dangerous for your pet. This amount of bacteria in your pet's mouth can increase their risk of heart, liver, and kidney infection from bacteria getting in to the bloodstream. At this point treatment would be a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT). This would include: dental xrays which will determine the integrity of the teeth, tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and likely tooth extractions.
This all looks a little "Doom and Gloom", If we are able to continue to look in our pet's mouth, do basic cleanings, and maintain general oral care we can be assured that we are helping!