We don’t have opposable thumbs so us cats and dogs are unable to brush our teeth ourselves leaving our dental health up to our owners. This week I wanted to share with you about dental disease and what you can do to prevent and help it.
Most of us understand that daily attention to our teeth and gums is essential for a healthy body. What we may not realize is that our pets also need daily dental care. If we don’t help If we don’t help our pets maintain good oral health, plaque forms between the tooth and gum when bacteria combine with saliva and food particles. As bacteria continue to grow, plaque hardens into tarter, giving bacteria an even more permanent place to thrive. This can lead to peridontal disease, which affects more than 80% of adult dogs and 70% of adult cats.
Gingivitis is the first stage of peridontal disease and occurs when bacteria grow around the gums from plaque and tarter buildup. It’s the primary cause of bad breath. If left untreated, pockets of infection form around the tooth as bacteria destroying supporting tissue, resulting in potential tooth loss, abscesses and pain for your pet.
Symptoms of poor oral health:
- Persistently bad breath
- Bleeding, inflamed, or receded gums
- Loss of appetite or change in eating habits
- Pawing and sensitivity of the mouth
If your pet has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian to schedule a dental checkup.
Peridontal disease can affect more than just your pet’s teeth and gums. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through inflamed, bleeding gums and attack your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys, potentially causing serious, possibly even fatal health problems. It’s simple to avoid the dangers of poor oral health, you just need to take the proper steps.
- Ask your veterinarian for an oral exam for your pet.
- Schedule a professional dental cleaning. A professional cleaning will remove plaque, stain, and tarter encrusted around the gum line. This cleaning will require your pet to be put under anesthesia.
- Home care and proper diet. Brush your pet’s teeth at home using toothbrushes and toothpaste designed for animals. Your vet may recommend an antibacterial rinse or gel, or antibiotcics when brushing is not practical. Dry food, dental treats, and dental bones can be helpful in removing plaque above the gum line.
Here is a before and after of a professional dental cleaning:
At Monticello Animal Hospital, we offer a 10% discount off of our professional dental cleanings for the month of February. Please contact us today to schedule your pet’s dental!