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Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. Approximately 80% of all dogs and cats have periodontal disease by the time they are only two years old. Dental disease affects much more than fresh breath. It frequently leads to more serious health problems such as liver, kidney and heart disease. That's why more veterinarians are not just treating dental disease, but taking new steps to prevent it. A major step in this process is encouraging owners to participate in their pet's oral health at home.
Periodontal disease in pets is the same as it is in people. It's a sneaky and insidious process that begins when bacteria in the mouth attach to the teeth and produce a film called "plaque". When the bacteria die, they are calcified into "calculus" commonly known as tartar which makes a rough surface for even more bacteria to stick to. In the beginning, plaque is soft and can easily be removed by brushing or chewing on appropriate toys or treats. But if left to spread, plaque leads to gum inflammation (called "gingivitis") and infection. Eventually, the infection spreads to the tooth root and even the jaw bone itself - causing pain and tooth loss.
The American Animal Hospital Association recently devised new guidelines for veterinarians in order to highlight the need for more professional oral hygiene care for pets. The organization stressed the necessity of going beyond the traditional "scraping the surface" of routine dental cleanings, known as "prophies". Veterinarians are encouraged to teach owners the importance of good oral hygiene when puppies and kittens are only a few months old in order to begin a lifetime of healthy benefits that go far beyond sweet smelling kisses.
It's important for all pet owners to know that pets can lead longer and healthier lives with good dental care. In fact, studies show that proper dental care can extend a pet's life by as much as five years! Ask your veterinarian about good dental care for your special furry friend.
Does your best friend have bad breath? Despite what many pet owners may believe, “dog breath” is not just a nuisance – it’s a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Bad breath is caused by bacteria. Over time, bacteria lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth. The result is bad breath, reddened gums, and other common signs of dental disease. As dental disease progresses, other signs can include drooling, discomfort while chewing, and loose or missing teeth. Even if you’re using treats and chews to help control tartar, these are frequently not enough to keep dental disease in check. Ask us about the best ways to control plaque and help protect your pet from dental disease.
Dental hygiene is an important part of your pet's health, because dental disease can be associated with other serious health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease. But how do you know if your pet has a healthy mouth? Let us examine your pet’s teeth and gums to help determine if there are any dental issues you should know about. After a brief visual examination, we may recommend a more detailed examination (which requires sedation), a dental cleaning, or options for at-home dental care.
Even if you think your pet’s teeth and gums are fine, we can offer expert advice to help you keep them that way! Dental health shouldn’t be taken for granted. Fortunately, many dental problems can be managed through at-home care and by bringing your pet to us for regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings.
We want your pet to live a long, healthy life, and we understand that maintaining a healthy mouth is part of that. Your pet’s health is important to us, so let us help you with this commitment. Call today to discuss your pet’s dental care needs and how we can help!