“Dog breath is nothing to smile about … even for a cat!”
According to the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), the most common disease in small animals is dental disease. In fact by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are already showing signs of dental disease.
Common signs of dental disease include bad breath, bleeding gums, yellow or brown tartar on teeth, tooth loss, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth, drooling, sore mouth, and depression.
Dental disease in our pets is very similar to what we see with human dental disease. It all begins with a build-up of soft dental plaque (a mixture of food particles, bacteria and debris) on the surface of the teeth and along the gum lines. After about 24 hours this plaque starts to harden and turn into calculus. The bacteria found in the plaque and calculus can lead to infection in the bone and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. Once these support structures are gone, the teeth become mobile and can fall out.
Dental disease can affect more than just your pet’s mouth. Bacteria from the plaque and calculus can travel in the blood stream and seriously affect the heart, liver, and kidneys. Chronic dental disease is also very hard on a pet’s immune system and can limit the pet’s ability to fight off other infections and diseases.
PREVENTATIVE CARE IS KEY!
Ways to keep your pet’s teeth healthy:
- Bring them in for their regular check-ups. Each physical exam includes an assessment of your pet’s overall oral health.
- Brush their teeth several times a week with specialized C.E.T Toothpaste (comes in a variety of flavors more appealing to pets). Never use human toothpaste as fluoride can be harmful to animals. Ask our technicians for a “teeth brushing” demonstration at your pet’s next visit.
- Use plaque reducing treats such as Greenies, C.E.T. Chews or Science Diet T/D.
Please be aware that even with preventative measures, calculus may still form and periodic professional dental treatment may be needed.
Professional Dental Treatment at our clinics includes:
- Dental Charting: We carefully chart the entire oral cavity. We note the condition of the teeth and gums, any missing teeth and any other abnormalities found.
- Ultrasonic scaling: Our specialized dental machine removes plaque, calculus and bacteria from above and below the gum line.
- Extractions: Where necessary, any loose or diseased teeth will be carefully extracted.
- Polishing: A paste is used to remove any rough surfaces in the enamel caused by the scaling. Polishing these surfaces will restore the enamel’s smooth surface and make teeth more resistant to plaque build-up.
- Medications: Appropriate oral antibiotics and pain medications will be dispensed if needed.
Please call our offices with any questions about your pet’s dental health.