What is dental disease?
It’s hard to believe that more than 80% of our dog and cat patients over three years of age have some form of dental disease. While many people believe that bad breath is normal for their furry friends, it can be an indication of a deeper problem.
Dental disease, or periodontal disease, is inflammation of the gums caused by a build-up of plaque.
What causes dental disease?
Plaque, which is made up of food particles, saliva, and bacteria, sticks to the tooth surface and if not removed will calcify into tartar.
Tartar also builds up below the gum line, making it harder to tell if your pet is developing or already suffering from dental disease. This tartar destroys tissue and bone, resulting in your pet’s bad breath, oral pain, and tooth decay or tooth loss. If left untreated, severe dental diseases can lead to heart, liver and kidney problems.
The good news is, in most cases, dental disease is preventable. Regular dental checks teamed with dental diets, treats, and toys can all help combat the problem of dental disease in pets.
The seven signs of dental disease
- Bad breath
- Discolouration, plaque or tartar build up on teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
- Redness or inflammation of the gum
- Swelling under the eye – may be a sign of a dental abscess
- Discomfort, lumps or bleeding around the mouth
How can I prevent my pet from getting dental disease?
Regular vet checks will help to identify any development of dental disease early on. Generally, premium food, dental-specific diets, and dental treats 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, brushing their teeth with a special pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste is also beneficial.
For more information about how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy visit your local Greencross Vet or make an appointment online today.