Just like humans, bearded dragons can suffer from dental problems like plaque, tartar, and gum disease.
- brown or black buildup on teeth
- red and inflamed gums
- lots of sugary foods like fruits
- dried foods
- not enough crunchy vegetables
- eating cooked vegetables
Once your bearded dragon starts showing signs of dental disease, you will need to make an appointment with a certified reptile veterinarian to remove the plaque and tartar buildup. This is considered minor surgery and will require anesthesia.
Without treatment, dental disease can turn into mouth rot, which requires antibiotic treatment and can lead to more serious conditions.
With a correct diet, dental disease in bearded dragons is rare, and your dragon should not have to get regular dental cleanings. Offer fruit treats very rarely, as the sugar encourages plaque growth on teeth (source). Avoid dried bearded dragon pellets or prepared diets that tend to stick to the dragon’s teeth. Offer more uncooked, crunchy vegetables like pumpkin, squash, bok choy, broccoli, carrot, and greens with stems as part of a varied diet. These crunchy foods naturally clean your dragon’s teeth.
If you are still worried about plaque forming, dip a cotton swab in chlorhexidine solution and gently rub on both sides of the dragon’s teeth, top and bottom. Do this no more than once a week to prevent undue stress on the dragon.
See photos of a dental cleaning procedure for a bearded dragon in this Facebook post by The Unusual Pet Vet in Frankston, Victoria, Australia.