Pearly Whites: The Importance of Pet Dental Health
Pet dental health is so important to the overall wellness of any pet. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your pet’s breath is not as fresh as it could be. Bad breath may actually be a red flag that something is wrong in the mouth. It’s smart to take a closer look at the importance of pet dental health, and Redwood Veterinary Hospital is here to show you the way.
Over 95% of cats and dogs will need treatment for some form of dental disease in their lives. Periodontal disease not only causes bad breath, but infected gums, tooth loss, and possibly even systemic disease of the heart, liver, or kidneys.
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria combine with food particles to cause plaque on the teeth. Over time, this plaque hardens into tartar, which leads to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) both above and below the gum line. The bacterial buildup eventually destroys the supporting structures of the tooth, including the root and the bone below.
Pet Dental Health
The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. To prevent and treat these problems, pet dental health starts with a dental exam during your pet’s annual wellness exam. We’ll examine your pet’s mouth and teeth and grade their oral health, which gives us a measurable score to the level of dental disease, if seen.
Most pets need regular professional dental cleanings. In order to accurately evaluate your pet’s teeth and gum health, general anesthesia is used. Using the safest anesthesia possible, we’ll examine and chart your pet’s teeth and gums, taking x-rays of any areas of concern to fully assess the tooth above and below the gum line. We’ll then address any diseased, loose, and broken teeth.
Next, we’ll thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth both above and below the gum line. It’s crucial to clean below the gum line, since much of disease causing plaque and bacteria collect there. Your pet’s teeth will then be polished to help slow future plaque buildup.
Your Role In Home Pet Dental Health
After your pet’s teeth are clean, your role in at-home pet dental health begins. Daily tooth brushing is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. Our skilled technicians can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth. Just ask for a demo. It’s really not as hard as it sounds!
We may also recommend other at home care, including dental chews, diets, or mouth rinses. These products help protect teeth and slow plaque development through abrasive chewing action or enzymes that control plaque. Each pet is an individual, so these products will only be recommended based on your pet’s level of dental disease as well as their overall health, age, and lifestyle.
If you have more questions about pet dental health, professional cleanings, or home care, please call us to talk or schedule an appointment. By working together, we can give your pet a lifetime of great oral health and wellness.