Dental Care

WHY IS DENTAL HEALTH SO IMPORTANT IN DOGS AND CATS?

·         By the age of 4 years, 85% of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease.

·         It is the most common disease of dogs and cats.

·         Oral disease can lead to serious health issues including severe pain, bad breath and tooth loss.

·         Severe dental disease can lead to adverse effects on the kidneys, heart muscle and liver.

BRUSHING YOUR DOG'S TEETH

BRUSHING YOUR CAT'S TEETH

WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?

·         Periodontal disease is the inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s support. It is caused by infection BELOW the gum line. What is seen on tooth’s surface is only the tip of the iceberg.

·         Periodontal disease is caused by plaque. Plaque build-up on the teeth contains bacteria. This bacteria laden plaque accumulation irritates the gums and causes infection of the bone surrounding the tooth.

·         Hard dental tartar, called calculus, consists of calcium salts from saliva which is deposited on the plaque.

·         Tartar forms within a few days on a tooth surface that is not kept clean. It also provides a rough surface that further enhances more plaque and tartar build-up.

·         Once tartar forms, it is almost impossible to remove without using professional dental instruments.

·         The most common signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (halitosis), bleeding from the gums, pain while eating (dropping food), and tooth loss.

 This is what a healthy mouth looks like:  

                                   

and this is moderate to severe periodontal disease:

                                             

PREVENTION

·         Prevention of periodontal disease is KEY. By the time moderate-severe disease is present, tooth loss is inevitable and these animals are in pain.

·         Daily plaque control through tooth brushing is ideal. There are many products available that will aid in daily plaque control (oral rinses, special diets, treats, and chews). Use only products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) http://www.vohc.org/.

·         If plaque or calculus has already formed, a professional dental cleaning is a needed, followed by daily home care. Oral health should be evaluated yearly by your veterinarian, and twice yearly once they are past middle age.

·         Professional dental cleanings must be done under anesthesia by a veterinarian. Anesthesia-free dentals, often offered by groomers, DO NOT provide for thorough cleaning or examination. These “cleanings” only provide a cosmetically “clean” appearance and leave the real disease under the gum line to progress causing chronic pain and eventual tooth loss. In addition, non-veterinarians  are not permitted to provide “dental cleanings” in California.

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