Dog and Cat Dental Disease

Is bad breath normal?

While many people believe that bad breath is normal for their furry friends, it can be an indication of a problem. Believe it or not, taking care of your dog’s dental health is just as important as looking after your own. Proper dental care for pets is critical to your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. Dental disease, if left untreated or detected, can cause tooth abscesses and bacteria which can result in heart, liver, and kidney health problems.

The good news is, in most cases, dental disease is preventable with regular dental examinations and the appropriate ongoing dental care. There are things you can do at home to ensure your dog’s teeth are in top condition. Having a dental health check at your local Greencross Vets will give you and your pet a good starting point.

During this visit, we will carry out a thorough examination of your dog’s mouth, teeth, and gums to determine if there are any signs of gingivitis, plaque build-up or infection. The outcome of this examination will identify if your dog requires a professional dental scale and polish or simply some at-home preventive measures to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Book a dental check up with your local Greencross Vets team today.

What causes dental disease?

Dental disease is inflammation of the teeth and gums caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar. Plaque is made up of food particles, saliva, and bacteria which sticks to the surface of the tooth. If not removed, it will calcify into tartar and progress from there.

This takes place above and below the gum line. Over time, it leads to the destruction of the bone, resulting in bad breath, oral pain, and loss of teeth.

Ten signs of dental disease

  1. Discolouration or yellow build-up on teeth
  2. Bad breath
  3. Under eye swelling
  4. Discomfort, lumps, or bleeding around the mouth
  5. Gum redness or inflammation
  6. Pawing at the mouth
  7. Difficulty eating
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Avoidance of hard food or kibble
  10. Excessive drooling

How can I help my pet have healthy teeth and gums?

Regular vet checks will help to identify any development of dental disease. Your vet will examine your pet’s mouth, teeth and gums and discuss any issues or questions you may have. Your vet can recommend a dental care plan to best suit your pet’s needs.

There are things you can do at home such as introducing specialty dental diets that can significantly reduce the development of tartar. Some chewy treats are also specifically designed to reduce tartar, promote healthy gums and freshen breath. If your pet is calm and relaxed, daily brushing of their teeth with a specially designed pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste is also beneficial.

For adult pets with existing dental disease, a scale and polish under general anaesthetic may be necessary to get their mouth back into top condition. This will allow us to start preventative measures with a clean mouth and prevent, or slow down, dental disease developing again in the future.

Chat to your friendly Greencross Vets team today to learn more about dental care.


What’s involved in a dental procedure?

A dental scale and polish procedure is sometimes required depending on the severity of dental disease present. This ensures the teeth can be cleaned properly and it is performed under general anaesthetic. This procedure includes a full examination including charting of the teeth. Your veterinarian may perform dental x-rays to view the roots of the teeth and this can help detect disease hidden under the gum-line. The teeth are then scaled (cleaned with a special instrument), both ultrasonically and by hand, and then finishing with a polish and special toothpaste.  This procedure is similar to what we experience when we go to the dentist.

Just like your own dentist, we use specialised instruments and pain relief to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable throughout the procedure.

For more information about how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy talk to your local Greencross Vets team.

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