When it comes to our own oral health we ensure that we take the time to guarantee good care and dental hygiene. Just as it is for ourselves, oral health is essential for a pet’s overall health and well-being!
Over 85% of dogs and cats have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease simply means that the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place are being destroyed by oral bacteria. Periodontal disease and oral bacteria can easily affect other organ systems including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain. This preventable disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our pets, yet many animals suffer needlessly. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissue, which is caused by plaque. Plaque is a mixture of saliva, bacteria, glycoproteins and sugars that adhere to the tooth surface. Within minutes after a cleaning, a thin layer of plaque has adhered to the teeth. Eventually this hardens to become calculus or tartar. Calculus by itself is nonpathogenic - it does not cause disease. However, it does create a rough surface for more plaque to adhere to, and pushes the gums away from the teeth, which increases surface area for more plaque to adhere. Eventually, the supporting structures of the tooth (bone, tissue, periodontal ligament) are destroyed and the tooth becomes mobile and will either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (halitosis), reluctancy to eat, chewing on one side of the mouth, dropping food, pawing at the face or rubbing the face on the floor, drooling, becoming head shy, and painful mouth/face.
What can you do?
STEP 1: Bring your pet in for a dental exam. Don't wait for his annual checkup if you suspect a problem.
STEP 2: Begin a dental care regimen at home. Preventative care is the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy through consistent oral home care and feeding a dental supportive diet. Brushing your pet's teeth daily is very important. We also recommend using a specially formulated dental rinse, and dental chews and food. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff would be happy to provide a demonstration of proper home brushing techniques. We can also offer advice and recommendations on certain products that you can use, such as treats and dental chews, to promote clean teeth and healthy gums.
STEP 3: Schedule your pets for an annual teeth cleaning which may include digital radiographs, cleaning, scaling and polishing, and tooth extractions when indicated. This is also very important and ensures we are catching any disease early enough to treat. Our clinic is equipped with the most modern dental equipment and our team is well trained in cutting edge pet dentistry techniques. For more complicated conditions, we may refer you to a small animal dental specialist.