Senior Dog Loose Tooth Reddit

Many senior dogs develop issues with loose or lost teeth as they age. By age 7, most dogs show some signs of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Loose teeth in older dogs can be caused by periodontal disease, injury or trauma to the mouth, or abnormal tooth development. Loose or lost teeth can make it painful for dogs to eat and lead to other health issues. It’s important for pet owners to regularly check their senior dog’s teeth and be aware of signs that indicate a tooth is loose. This article will cover the common causes of loose teeth in senior dogs, signs to look out for, when to see a vet, treatment options, home care tips, and advice from other pet owners dealing with the issue.

Causes of Loose Teeth in Senior Dogs

The most common cause of loose teeth in older dogs is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth, including the gums, periodontal ligament, and jawbone. It’s caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth that leads to inflammation and erosion of the tooth socket. According to the Whole Dog Journal, periodontal disease affects over 80% of dogs by the age of 3. As periodontal disease progresses in senior dogs, it can cause bone loss around the tooth root, eventually leading to tooth loosening or loss.

As dogs age, they experience natural bone loss which can also contribute to loose teeth. The jaw bones weaken over time and are less able to hold the teeth firmly in place. Trauma or injury to the mouth can also knock teeth loose or fracture the jaw and lead to tooth loss. Sources estimate that by age 10, 30% of dogs will have loose or missing teeth.

According to BluePet, smaller dog breeds are more prone to periodontal disease and subsequent tooth loss because their teeth are more crowded. Larger breed dogs with shorter snouts are also at higher risk. Daily dental care and professional cleanings can help prevent plaque buildup and reduce the likelihood of loose teeth in senior dogs.

Signs Your Dog Has Loose Teeth

Some common signs that indicate your dog may have loose teeth include:

  • Bad breath – Persistent bad breath or halitosis can signify dental disease and loose teeth in dogs. The bacteria buildup from plaque and tartar causes foul odors. According to, bad breath is one of the top signs of periodontal disease in older dogs.
  • Bleeding gums – Inflamed gums that bleed easily when touched or while eating often signals gingivitis and loose teeth. Gum recession also exposes more of the tooth, leading to further irritation.
  • Tooth discoloration – A loose tooth can become discolored or turn dark brown or grey. The tooth also may appear transparent in spots where the enamel has eroded away.
  • Oral tumors – Both malignant and benign tumors in the mouth can cause teeth to become loose. These tumors weaken the bone and tissue supporting the teeth.
  • Difficulty eating – Your dog may show signs of mouth pain or discomfort when chewing hard food. Senior dogs with loose teeth may start dropping food, dribbling, or avoiding hard kibble altogether, according to

Dangers of Loose Teeth in Dogs

Loose teeth in dogs can lead to some concerning health issues if left untreated. Some of the main dangers include:


A loose tooth that has become infected or inflamed can be very painful for dogs. The tooth may ache or throb, making chewing and eating uncomfortable. Severe dental pain can also cause changes in behavior like irritability or reluctance to play or be touched around the mouth (Whole Dog Journal).


Bacteria and plaque buildup around a loose tooth can lead to infection of the tooth socket and surrounding gum tissue (periodontitis). This infection can enter the bloodstream and potentially affect internal organs like the heart, kidneys and liver (BluePet).

Tooth Loss

Eventually a very loose tooth will fall out, leaving an empty socket in the gumline. This increases the chances of food getting trapped in the socket, which can cause further infection. It also impacts the dog’s ability to chew and swallow food properly.


The pain and discomfort of loose teeth, combined with impaired chewing ability, can lead to dogs not eating properly. Lack of nutrition from avoiding eating hard foods can result in weight loss and malnutrition (ToeGrips).

When to See the Vet

If you notice your senior dog has a loose tooth, it’s important to have your vet examine it as soon as possible. According to The Spruce Pets, you should schedule a veterinary appointment right away if the tooth is very loose or dangling. Even if the tooth seems only slightly loose, it’s best to get it checked out sooner rather than later.

There are several symptoms beyond looseness that signal it’s time to see the vet. According to Bluepet, these include: red or bleeding gums around the tooth, pus or discharge around the tooth and gumline, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and swelling of the face around the affected tooth. Your dog may also be in obvious discomfort or pain when their mouth is touched.

While loose teeth may simply be due to old age in senior dogs, they can also indicate periodontal disease or other underlying issues. Regular professional cleanings and dental checkups are key to preventative care and catching any problems early. Your vet may recommend more frequent dental visits for senior dogs with dental issues. Be sure to monitor your dog’s mouth routinely at home as well and alert your vet promptly about any concerning symptoms.

Diagnosis of Loose Teeth

If you suspect your senior dog has a loose tooth, the veterinarian will perform a thorough oral exam to check for dental issues. This involves looking at your dog’s teeth, gums, and mouth tissues for signs of problems.

Your vet will check for loose, cracked, or damaged teeth, gum inflammation, oral masses, and other abnormalities. They will examine each tooth individually and grade them based on mobility.

Dental x-rays are often recommended to get a closer look at your dog’s tooth roots and surrounding bone structure. X-rays can reveal hidden dental disease below the gumline, such as bone loss, abscesses, and cysts.

Your vet will also do a full physical exam and ask about your dog’s health history. Medical conditions like kidney disease, cancer, and immune disorders can contribute to dental problems in senior dogs.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options your vet may recommend for a dog with loose teeth:

Tooth extraction is often necessary when the tooth is very loose or infected. Extracting loose teeth helps prevent further infection and discomfort (source).

Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat or prevent infection. Common antibiotics used are clindamycin and amoxicillin (source).

Pain medication such as NSAIDs help manage discomfort and inflammation.

Your vet may recommend a special dental or soft food diet that is easier for your dog to chew and eat.

More frequent professional teeth cleanings can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup that loosens teeth. Cleanings every 6 months may be recommended (source).

Home Care

There are some things you can do at home to help care for your senior dog’s loose teeth and keep their mouth healthy:

Brushing Teeth

Gently brushing your dog’s teeth daily can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste. Avoid brushing directly on very loose teeth that may cause pain or bleeding when brushed. Focus on the areas that still have firm teeth.

Here are some tips for brushing your senior dog’s teeth:

  • Introduce brushing slowly with positive reinforcement and treats
  • Lift lips to expose teeth and gums
  • Use circular motions to clean each tooth surface
  • Go slowly and keep sessions brief (30-60 seconds)

Dental Treats and Chews

Veterinarian-approved dental treats and chews can also help scrape away tartar and plaque. Opt for softer treats and monitor chewing. Avoid very hard treats that could cause pain or damage to loose teeth.


Oral rinses formulated for pets can reduce bacteria in the mouth when used regularly. Choose a veterinarian-recommended brand and follow instructions.

Avoid Hard Chews

Hard chew toys and treats should be avoided in senior dogs with loose teeth, as they could cause further dental issues or damage. Stick to softer foods and treats that are easier to chew.

Reddit Posts About Senior Dogs with Loose Teeth

Dog owners have turned to Reddit to share their experiences, seek advice, and find support regarding senior dogs with loose teeth. Many posters describe first noticing loose teeth while playing with or brushing their aging pets.

“I have a 12-year-old female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a loose tooth (front upper tooth). I only just discovered it today while I was playing with her,” wrote one Reddit user on r/dogs.

Another Redditor asked the r/AskVet community about their aging dog’s loose tooth, explaining “We were playing & I noticed one of his canine teeth is loose. It moves quite a bit & even wiggles on its own when he closes his mouth sometimes.” The responses advised seeing a vet soon to assess and treat the underlying cause.

However, some Reddit users debate whether loose teeth in senior dogs require veterinary extraction. “It’s not really “normal” for teeth to fall out when older. I would recommend a vet appointment to get a dental estimate as tooth assessment is important,” commented one r/dogs member.

Overall, the Reddit posts showcase owners grappling with loose teeth as an unwelcome sign of their dog’s advanced age. The comments indicate loose teeth often prompt difficult decisions about dental work and extractions for elderly pets. But Reddit provides a forum to learn from others navigating the same issues.

When to Consider Extraction

For senior dogs with loose teeth, extraction may become necessary depending on the severity of looseness, risk of infection, and the dog’s pain levels.

Teeth that are very loose or wiggle significantly when touched usually require extraction. According to, “Any tooth that moves more than 1 mm is considered mobile and should be evaluated by a vet.”

Loose teeth allow bacteria to enter the socket and jawbone, increasing the chances of a serious infection. Signs of infection include bad breath, bleeding from the gums, facial swelling, and pus around the tooth. Infected teeth should be removed as soon as possible.

Dogs in significant pain or discomfort from a loose tooth are also candidates for extraction. Symptoms may include reluctance to chew or play with toys, dropping food, and whining or crying when the mouth area is touched.

Veterinarians will examine the tooth and surrounding gum tissue to determine the best course of action. They may recommend extraction if the tooth is unlikely to tighten back up or if leaving it in would compromise the dog’s health and quality of life.

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