February is Pet Dental Health Month, so now is the time to bring your pet in for a check-up and teeth cleaning! In last year’s newsletter, we talked about five tips to keep your pet’s teeth clean. Instead of re-hashing old (but good) tips, we created a list of pet dental health facts to help you become more aware of the importance of keeping your pet’s teeth clean.
Periodontal Disease is more common than you might think.
By age 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of periodontal disease. By age 4, 85% of dogs and cats show signs or oral disease, so keep those teeth clean! There are several signs of periodontal disease in pets. Bad breath, difficulty chewing, oral discomfort, and blood-tinged drool are all signs of periodontal disease.
Prevention is key to your pet’s dental health.
Some methods of prevention include: regular dental exams, periodic cleaning, chews, rinses, and water additives. However, just brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is by far the best way to prevent any sort of damage or disease.
Up to 2/3 of a tooth is under the gum line.
Most dental disease falls under the gum line, as well, which makes it tough to check for. Your veterinarian may not be able to estimate the severity of dental disease without anesthesia to allow a complete oral exam to be performed.
“Doggie breath” is not normal.
Don’t mistake this with “just ate dinner” breath, or “found something strange outside and put it in their mouth” breath. If your pet has bad breath all the time, that’s one of the first noticeable symptoms of dental disease.
Some toys are too hard for your pet to play with or chew on.
If you can’t dent a toy with your fingernail, it’s probably too hard for your pet to chew. Chewing on a hard toy can lead to damaging their teeth.
Loose teeth need further investigation.
In adult dogs, loose teeth are usually a result from trauma to the mouth or from gum loss due to advanced periodontal disease.
There are several signs that will help you spot a tooth root abscess.
If your dog is dropping food, tipping its head to one side, or avoiding eating entirely, a tooth root abscess could be the problem.
Chronic infections can spread to your pet’s major organs.
This can seriously compromise your pet’s health. Examples of organs commonly affected are the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Follow your vet’s recommendations!
Always remember to have your pet’s teeth examined by your family veterinarian, and be cognizant of the fact that periodic dental cleanings and oral exams under anesthesia should be routine for keeping your pet healthy and disease free.