Dental Health Breakdown
posted: Feb. 09, 2021.
Got to love opposable thumbs, right? Could you imagine if we could not brush our own teeth… what that would look like? Take a look at your pet’s mouth. Pets need routine dental care just like us. The American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) says that dental disease is the number one health issue impacting over 80% of dogs, and 70% of cats over the age of three! I’m sure those numbers would be similar for humans if we couldn’t brush our teeth… (Once again, thank you thumbs). Foul breath, tooth loss, oral abscesses, inability to eat and other very serious health problems are just a few reasons why you should pay closer attention to the dental health of your pet!
What Causes Dental Disease?
What causes dental disease in pets? Plaque formation due to food, saliva, and bacteria in your pet’s mouth. If plaque isn’t removed it quickly forms into tartar. (Plaque takes 24 hours to form, tartar takes 3 days, and gingivitis takes 2 weeks to form.) Tartar above the gum line can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gum line are damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone.
How Can We Treat It?
The treatment for dental disease involves a thorough dental cleaning. This includes a detailed exam of the mouth as well as cleaning not only the surface of the teeth but underneath the gum line where a majority of the bacteria and tartar are found. Then the teeth are polished to smooth the rough surface making it more difficult for the bacteria and plaque to stick. We end the cleaning by rinsing the mouth and flushing the gum line to remove any debris. In some cases, dental x-rays are needed to determine the extent of the dental disease and to see if any teeth need to be extracted.
What Can I Do?
At-home dental care is just as important as what we do here in the clinic. You can brush your pet’s teeth daily with pet-safe toothpaste. You can also try dental diets, dental treats, and even dental rinses! Many pet products are marketed for dental health, but not all of them are effective, talk with your veterinarian to see what they recommend. No matter what you choose, it is important to stay consistent and see your veterinarian regularly for checkups. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best defense against dental disease!
Here at AMSH we think Dental Health is such a priority. Have you seen our Youtube Videos?