Preventive measures for your pets dental problems
The number one health problem diagnosed in pets today is oral disease. To prevent it, it is important to provide our pets with the right diet and good dental care both professionally and through home care.
Most common dental disease in dogs and cats
Plaque is the result of decomposed food particles, saliva and bacteria. It is built-up along the gum line. Plaque finds its way to the nooks and crannies between the front and back of your pet’s teeth. Plaque can be removed by mechanical means chewing, scaling or brushing. If the plaque is not removed, it will calcify into tartar (calculus) build up within 48 hours. The calculus that you can see on the teeth allows further plaque build up to occur. Calculus can only be removed by your veterinarian. So your best bet is to remove plaque before it becomes calculus. Tartar
The most common cause of bad breath is tartar buildup. This is the result from the combination of built-up plaque and minerals in your pet’s saliva. Tartar is irritating to the gums and causes an inflammation called gingivitis. This is the reddening of the gums adjacent to the teeth which cause bad breath.
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When tartar is not removed, it starts to build up underneath the gums. The gum separates from the teeth and more bacteria will grow. “Pockets” will start to form. At this point the damage is irreversible. This damage is called “periodontal” disease. This can lead to loose teeth, bone loss or infection and will be very painful to your pet. This can be slowed or stopped if treated by your veterinarian with special instruments and procedures. If untreated bacterial growth will increase and enter the bloodstream, which can cause infection of the heart valves (endocarditic), liver, and kidneys.
Signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease include:
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The dental care diet
- Bad Breath
- Difficulty chewing or eating
- Gums swollen or red, may bleed
- Brownish-yellow calculus (tartar) on teeth
- Receded gums
- Loose or missing teeth
The most important thing you can do to preserve your pet’s teeth is to feed a crunchy diet exclusively. It’s simply a matter of mechanics. A crunchy diet massages the gums and wears off plaque.
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Remember, dental and gum disease is basically a matter of prevention. There is no cure – once it has begun we can only slow its progress. A good dental care program includes:
- Regular visits to your veterinarian, which include an oral exam
- Veterinary dental cleaning as advised
- Daily home oral care
Interesting Pet Dental Facts
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- Periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease among dogs and cats.
- 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over age three will require dental care during their lifetime.
- Out of 100 animals examined for oral health, 60% require prophylaxis but only 17% receive prophylaxis treatment.