Periodontal disease is the most frequently diagnosed infectious disease in pets. By the age of 4, 85% of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease. If left untreated oral disease can lead to bad breath, severe pain, and tooth loss. Chronic infection in the mouth can spread bacteria throughout the body which can damage the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Plaque is a colorless film that contains a large amount of bacteria. If the teeth are not cleaned regularly plaque builds up and causes inflammation of the gums. Tartar then leads to damage of the periodontal ligament and periodontal disease. This results in pain and loss of the tissues and bone that support the teeth.
Some signs of periodontal disease
- Bad breath
- Yellow-brownish film or crust on the teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Going eagerly to the food bowl but not eating
- Changes in chewing or eating habits, such as not chewing or dropping food
- Tooth loss
- Abnormal drooling
Steps to prevention
- Visit one of our veterinarians to have your pets dental health evaluated
- Schedule a dental cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar that is present on the teeth. Your pets teeth will be cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler to remove all debris. Their mouth will then be charted. Each tooth will be evaluated for any abnormalities, including signs of disease such as: periodontal pocket depth, trauma, excessive wearing of the teeth, cavities, discoloration, missing teeth, and so on.
- Your pets teeth will then be polished to smooth the surface of the enamel to decrease the rate that plaque is able to build up.
- The patient will then receive a fluoride treatment that will help strengthen the tooth enamel, decrease the rate of plaque reattachment, and stimulate remineralization of the enamel.
- Their dental concludes with a laser therapy treatment to decrease inflammation and promote healing.
- Any evidence of dental disease can be addressed such as: cavities, feline resorptive lesions, periodontal pockets, mobility, fractures, etc.
- A 2 week post dental recheck will be scheduled to evaluate your pets mouth and to go over the best home care options for you and your pet.
A lot of different options are available for a successful home care routine! Let us help you find the best fit to help you feel confident in making it part of your pets routine.
We will go over options such as:
An easy and fun way to prevent plaque and tartar by mechanically scrubbing teeth while your pet chews on them. Some chews are effective by their unique design. There are also chews that contain Chlorhexidine which provides antiseptic activity to decrease the amount of bacteria in your pets mouth. Care should be taken to choose an option that suits your pets chewing habits and dietary needs.
Drinking water additives
There are different products that can be added to your pets drinking water to help decrease the rate that plaque accumulates on your pets teeth. It also helps decrease the bacteria concentrations in their mouth, decreasing inflammation and freshening their breath with every drink.
Daily brushing is the best way to protect your pets dental health. There are different sized toothbrushes available. You can also try using a finger brush or a washcloth. A toothpaste specially formulated for pets must be used. Human toothpaste is too high in fluoride and is NOT meant to be swallowed. Brushing should be a pleasant and fun experience. Be patient and proceed slowly. Soon your pet will look forward to brushing time!
During the months of January, February, and March, Eagle Animal Hospital is promoting pet dental awareness. We are offering dental prophy discounts as well as free dental products to help get you started creating your home care routine.
Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help answer any questions you have and help you and your pet achieve that perfect fresh smile. Call today to schedule your pets dental evaluation. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.
Written by Keri LinsenBigler, veterinary technician