Can you imagine what your teeth would look like without daily dental care? If you have a pet, flip the lip and take a look at its teeth. I’m promoting National Pet Dental Health Month and I will be posting several dental articles this month.
Unless your pet chews on lots of hard toys I bet there is some form of dental disease. In fact, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some form of dental disease by age three. Unfortunately, two-thirds of owners do not provide dental care that is recommended by their veterinarian.
Periodontal disease is the most common cause of dental problems in pets. It all starts with bacteria attaching to the tooth surface and forming plaque. The attached bacteria form calculus, which harbors additional bacteria. The bacteria produces toxins that cause injury to the soft tissue. As the disease progresses the teeth become loose and bone loss begins to occur which is painful. Once it has progressed to this phase damage is irreversible and extraction is necessary. Bacteria can also shed into the bloodstream causing heart, liver and kidney disease.
Dental care for periodontal disease involves a dental cleaning by your veterinarian.
Since pets won’t sit in a chair and keep their mouths opened while we clean their teeth we have to anesthetize them. This is one of the reasons why it costs more for pet dental care. Typically, a dental cleaning involves using an ultrasonic cleaner to remove the plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth, dental x-rays and polishing with a special paste afterwards.
As always, prevention is better and definitely cheaper. The best dental care you can provide is
daily brushing. However, I realized that this can be a bit unrealistic and recommend some type of dental prevention at least 4 days a week. Other options that are available for daily dental care include special diets, dental chews, like Greenies, and chewing on hard toys.