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How Many Teeth Do Maltese Shih Tzus Have?

Maltese Shih Tzus, like other small dog breeds, typically have 42 teeth once they have their full set of adult teeth. These teeth are composed of incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Incisors are the small front teeth used for grooming and nibbling, while canines are the pointed teeth for tearing and grasping. Premolars and molars, located towards the back of the mouth, aid in chewing and grinding food.

Types of Teeth

Understanding the different types of teeth in Maltese Shih Tzus can help you better care for their dental health. Let’s explore each type:

  • Incisors: Located in the front of the mouth, incisors are small and sharp teeth that serve grooming and nibbling purposes. Maltese Shih Tzus have a total of 12 incisors—six in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw.
  • Canines: Often referred to as fangs, canines are the pointed teeth located on each side of the incisors. They play a crucial role in grasping, tearing and holding objects. Maltese Shih Tzus have four canines—two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw.
  • Premolars: Situated behind the canines, premolars assist in chewing and grinding food. Maltese Shih Tzus have eight premolars—four in the upper jaw and four in the lower jaw.
  • Molars: Found at the back of the mouth, molars are larger and broader teeth responsible for crushing and grinding food. Maltese Shih Tzus have a total of 16 molars—eight in the upper jaw and eight in the lower jaw.

Teething Stages

Teething is a natural process that all puppies go through and Maltese Shih Tzus are no exception. The teething process generally occurs in two stages: the puppy teething stage and the adult teething stage.

  • Puppy Teething Stage: This stage starts when a Maltese Shih Tzu is around 3 to 4 weeks old and lasts until they are approximately 4 to 6 months old. During this stage, puppies begin to lose their baby milk teeth and develop their adult teeth. It’s important to note that teething can cause discomfort for puppies, leading to chewing behaviors and potential sore gums.
  • Adult Teething Stage: Once the puppy teething stage is complete, Maltese Shih Tzus will have their full set of adult teeth. These teeth are stronger and more durable than their baby milk teeth, allowing for efficient chewing and maintaining proper oral health.

Common Dental Issues in Maltese Shih Tzus

While Maltese Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, they can be prone to certain dental issues. It’s crucial to be aware of these common problems to prevent complications and maintain their oral health:

  • Dental Plaque and Tartar: Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth due to bacteria and food particles. Over time, if not removed, it can harden into tartar, leading to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and potential tooth decay.
  • Gum Disease: Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. Signs of gum disease include bad breath, redness or swelling of the gums and loose teeth.
  • Tooth Decay: Maltese Shih Tzus can develop cavities or dental caries, especially if their teeth aren’t properly cared for. Tooth decay can cause pain, discomfort and even tooth loss if left untreated.

What Should You Do When Your Maltese Shih Tzu is Teething?

When your Maltese Shih Tzu is teething, there are several steps you can take to provide relief and support their dental health:

  • Offer appropriate chew toys designed for teething puppies.
  • Provide frozen washcloths or chilled teething toys to alleviate sore gums.
  • Regularly inspect their mouth for any signs of dental issues or retained baby teeth.
  • Ensure a balanced diet that promotes dental health and avoids excessive sugary treats.

Tips for Preventing Dental Issues in Maltese Shih Tzus

Prevention is key to maintaining your Maltese Shih Tzu’s oral health. Here are some essential tips for preventing dental issues:

  • Establish a regular dental care routine, including daily tooth brushing using a dog-specific toothpaste.
  • Provide dental treats or toys that aid in removing plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings with your veterinarian.
  • Choose a high-quality dog food that promotes dental health and avoids excessive sugars or fillers.

Caring for your Maltese Shih Tzu’s teeth is vital for their overall well-being. Understanding the number, types and size of their teeth, as well as the teething process, common dental issues and preventive measures, allows you to be a proactive and responsible dog owner.

Maltese Shih Tzu Teeth – How Many, Teething Stages, Types & Size