Pet teeth matter!
Let’s talk about dog breath. Why do some dogs' breath smell like a new puppy, while others smell so bad that you can smell them from across the room?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the mouth beneath the gums in the bone and tissue around the teeth. Over time, the bacteria eat away the bone resulting in swelling, bleeding, pain, and loss of teeth.
But Periodontal disease is not just for dogs.... cats get periodontal disease too. In addition to that, cats are prone to a special kind of cavities called Resorptive Lesions that can be extremely painful – our feline friends are masters of deception and like to hide their pain from us. A cat in pain may simply become more (or less) cuddly, spend more time alone, be losing weight, or get upset easily.
When detected early, the area beneath the gum line can be cleaned (scaled and debrided) and the teeth can be saved. When left to go on too long, the bone around the teeth is eaten away, and the teeth must be extracted.
How can you keep your pet's teeth healthy and prevent tooth loss and pain from periodontal disease?
1) Have your pet's teeth checked by a licensed veterinarian at least once a year (twice a year is preferred in small / toy breeds).
2) Practice at-home dental care – whenever possible, use veterinary oral health council approved products (link http://www.vohc.org/all_accepted_products.html )
brush teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste at least twice a week
daily dental chew
dental gels or sprays as directed on the instructions
3) Examine your pet's teeth and gums at home and bring your pet to the veterinarian for a dental examination at the first signs of any of the following:
a red line on the gums near the teeth
red/ swollen/ bleeding gums
dark brown or yellow buildup on the teeth (even if it is only on some teeth)
difficulty chewing or reluctance to play with toys
not wanting to eat crunchy foods
growling while eating (cats)
Dental disease is not only the most common hidden cause of pain in pets, but it can also lead to other problems because bacteria from the dental infection can get into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body causing damage to internal organs.
Being proactive about your pet's teeth helps them to live their best life with less pain and infection and can help them live longer. Besides, who wants a smelly puppy kiss when your pet could have fresh breath instead!
If you would like to find out more about how pet dental exams can help to prevent periodontal disease and keep your pet’s teeth healthy for years to come, or to schedule an appointment at Alvin Animal Clinic in Alvin, Texas, call (281) 585-5183 where our team would be happy to assist you! At your appointment, we will even show you how to brush your pet’s teeth if you have any questions.