Good dental hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for us humans. If their teeth are not looked after, they will develop dental issues. Smaller breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, are even more prone to dental complications because of their small teeth, jaw shape, and genetic disposition. So how do you ensure your Yorkie’s teeth are healthy?

In this article, you will discover key details about Yorkie’s teeth. We will cover how many teeth a Yorkie has, when you can expect a young Yorkie to get their puppy teeth, and how to look after your pet’s teeth. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about dental care for Yorkies.

How Many Teeth Does a Yorkie Have?

Yorkshire terriers, like us and most other mammals, are born without teeth. Their baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth, appear when they are around six to eight weeks of age. When all of their puppy teeth have erupted, your Yorkie will have 28 teeth.

Dogs’ teeth develop and change a lot faster than human teeth, and before your Yorkie puppy is one year old, it will have its 42 permanent teeth in place. The adult teeth start to replace the puppy teeth when your puppy is between three and five months of age. Most Yorkies have their adult canine teeth by the time they are eight to ten months old.

How Do You Know When a Yorkie is Teething?

You can start looking for signs of teething when your Yorkie is around three months old. Their gums can feel itchy when their teeth are erupting and they are likely to chew or suck everything. You may also notice your dog is salivating a lot more than before. Give your dog chew toys to play with when they are teething.

Why Are Yorkies Prone to Dental Problems?

Yorkshire terriers are classified as a toy-sized breed and like many other breeds in this category, they are prone to dental issues. The main cause for the issues is the anatomy of Yorkie’s teeth and the smaller cranial features.

With Yorkshire terrier puppies malocclusion, meaning misalignment is common. It happens when the dog retains its puppy tooth, causing the adult tooth to grow in the wrong position. When this happens, the first tooth needs to be taken out by a veterinarian to prevent the misalignment issue from becoming permanent.

Adult Yorkies can also have issues with the rotation of teeth, which is caused by their short teeth roots. They are also genetically predisposed to have early degeneration in their jaw bone density. The tooth rotation together with overcrowding caused by the small mouth size, can lead to areas that are difficult to clean.

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Issues Caused by Unclean Teeth

If your Yorkie’s teeth are not cleaned, this can lead to dental issues. Without cleaning, plaque and tartar start to build up on the dog’s teeth, eating the tooth enamel. The buildup can move below the gum line and cause more severe dental disease, including tooth decay, gum disease, periodontal disease, jaw bone deterioration, and tooth loss.

If dental issues are left untreated, it may lead to debilitating and even life-threatening issues in your pet. Over time dental problems can lead to canine heart disease, decreased immune system, liver failure, chronic pain, and a higher risk of diabetes.

Signs of Dental Problems in Yorkshire Terriers

If your Yorkie has a dental issue, one of the first signs you may notice is bad breath. Your dog may also be drooling, salivating, or sneezing excessively and have difficulty chewing. You may also notice lumps inside your dog’s mouth and bleeding gums.

If you notice any of these signs or that your pet’s tooth is loose, take it to the vet as soon as possible to prevent the issue from becoming worse and leading to potentially life-threatening conditions.

How to Keep Yorkie’s Teeth Healthy

How to Keep Yorkie's Teeth Healthy

Fortunately, you can prevent many of these issues by proper dental hygiene for your Yorkie. Start looking after your Yorkie’s teeth as soon as the first ones appear. Do not wait until they have their adult teeth to start looking after them.

Brush

One of the best ways to keep your Yorkie’s teeth clean is to brush them as this will prevent plaque and tartar buildup and tooth decay. Brush your dog’s teeth daily using toothpaste made for dogs. Never use human toothpaste because it has ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

To brush your Yorkie’s teeth, you can either get a fingertip brush that goes over your index finger or a special canine-handle toothbrush. Do not use toothbrushes intended for humans as the bristles will be too stiff for Yorkies’ small teeth and gums. Use the toothbrush to clean teeth and gums with gentle circular motions.

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It may take a while before your Yorkie allows you to brush its teeth properly. At first, your dog is likely to try chewing the brush so be patient when you are introducing a brushing routine. Ensure you also reward your Yorkie after the brushing.

Dental Wipes

You should always try keeping your dog’s teeth clean by brushing. However, some Yorkies simply will not tolerate the process. If your dog will not allow you to brush their teeth, what are your options?

For dogs that will not allow toothbrushing, you can use dental wipes. You can use them daily to get the best results and prevent plaque and tartar from building up. Dental wipes work best when used together with other cleaning methods which you can read about below.

Dental Spray

Dental sprays can work well, especially when used together with dental wipes or teeth brushing. However, if used alone, sprays will not prevent tartar and plaque effectively enough.

When choosing a dental spray, check the purpose of the spray carefully since some sprays are only designed to freshen your dog’s breath and not to prevent plaque and tartar. Most sprays can be used twice a day and sprayed directly onto teeth and gums but always read the instructions for the specific spray you are using.

Dental Treats

This is likely to be your Yorkie’s favorite part of their dental hygiene routine because all dogs love treats. You can give your dog a dental treat once a day. The chewy treat will scrape tartar off the teeth with its hard texture. Some dental treats also have ingredients that help prevent the buildup of plaque.

Ensure you get a dental treat that is a suitable size for your Yorkie. Some treats are designed for dogs weighing five to fifteen pounds. Remember that while dental treats can help keep the dog’s teeth clean, they should not be used instead of other teeth cleaning methods and you still need to brush or wipe your dog’s teeth every day.

Take Your Yorkie to a Vet Regularly

Just like you need to see your dentist every six to twelve months, your Yorkie needs to see the vet to have its teeth checked regularly, too. This allows the vet to detect any dental issues early so they can be treated before they become more serious problems.

Your Yorkie should have a dental health check as soon as it starts developing its first teeth and then have an annual check-up until it is five years old. After that age, the checkups should take place more frequently at six-month intervals because as your dog ages, the risk of dental issues increases.

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What Happens at the Vet?

If your Yorkie needs a full dental examination, for example, if it is the first visit to the vet for a teeth checkup, the dentist may take X-rays of the dog’s mouth and teeth to assess the health of the teeth and the bone surrounding them.

They may then use a dental probe to measure if there are pockets between the teeth and gums, which can be a sign of receding gums or other dental issues. The visit may also include a dental clean with ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque and tarter.

However, not all Yorkies will need to have their teeth cleaned by a vet. If you have a good oral hygiene routine at home, there may be no need for professional cleaning but you should still take your Yorkie for its checkup. For some Yorkies, dental cleanings may be needed even if you clean their teeth diligently because of genetic issues.

What Happens at the Vet?

Conclusion

Keeping your Yorkie’s teeth clean is vital for the overall health and well-being of your dog. A young Yorkie starts teething around six weeks old and will have 28 baby teeth. These will not stay long and the adult teeth will have replaced the puppy teeth by the time your Yorkie is around ten months old. Yorkies have 42 adult teeth.

Unfortunately, Yorkies have a high risk of dental issues. Young Yorkies may have tooth overlap if they retain their puppy teeth and need a tooth extraction to prevent misalignment. Older Yorkies are prone to dental issues. However, these can be prevented by proper dental hygiene and regular checkups with the vet.

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