Why oral hygiene is so important?
Just like you, your pet has only one set of adult teeth.
Dental hygiene is very important, but what is not well known is that dental disease can significantly reduce the lifespan of your animal companion.
Bacteria that accumulate on your pet’s teeth can easily enter the bloodstream and cause serious damage to your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys.
Amazingly, over 80% of pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease.
Pet’s dental problems are not the same as in people. The most common problem for people is tooth decay (caused by the loss of calcium from the enamel resulting in painful, infected cavities). By comparison, tooth decay accounts for less than 10% of all dental issues in dogs.
The main cause of dental problems in pets is periodontal disease.
This is inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar (calculus) contributes to gum recession around the base of the tooth and this exposes sensitive nerve endings. If left untreated, infection soon follows and the gums recede even further. Infection quickly spreads into the tooth socket and ultimately the tooth loosens and is lost. During this process bacteria are absorbed into the bloodstream through damaged gum tissue.
If your pet displays any warning signs of periodontal disease, you should contact Vets4Pets:
Things to watch for:
- Bad breath
- Yellow-brown crust on teeth
- Reluctance to play with toys
- Bleeding gums
- Subdued behaviour
- Going to the food bowl, but not eating
- Abnormal drooling
- Dropping food out of the mouth
- Swallowing food whole
- Change of chewing or eating habits
- Tooth loss
Minimize the risk of further damage and discomfort by bringing your pet to Vets4Pets for an assessment at the first sign of the disease. (Our contact details are on the back).
Note: a general anaesthetic will be needed for dental treatment to remove tartar build up or any loose or damaged teeth.
How you can prevent periodontal disease?
The best method is to brush your pet’s teeth daily using a toothbrush and specially formulated toothpaste. Most animals will happily accept brushing after a gentle introduction. We sell pet toothbrushes and toothpaste at our vet clinics and in our online shop. Ask Vets4Pets staff for advice on using these products.
Vets4Pets also recommends:
Other ways to protect your pet
Vets4Pets suggests removing raw bones from your pet’s diet, as these can easily get stuck in some part of your pet’s digestive tract and cause an expensive medical emergency. In addition, bones are high in fat, contain many bacteria, go off quickly and frequently break teeth.
Do not use human toothpastes on your pet’s teeth. These contain harmful foaming agents that are not intended to be swallowed. Many types of human toothpaste also contain a high content of fluoride and artificial sweetener xylitol, which cause health problems in pets.
Give your pet a professional dental check-up
If your pet has never had a professional dental check-up or it has been some time since your pet was last checked, contact the friendly staff at one of our hospitals for an appointment.