The Importance of
Pet Dental Health
Have you ever experienced a severe toothache? Many pet owners don't realize that dogs and cats develop tartar and periodontal disease just like people do. And, just like people, animals develop tartar and oral disease at different rates. Some pets may need annual dental cleaning, while others may only require cleaning once or twice in their lifetimes. Dental disease is one of the most common health issues we see.
Our pets can’t tell us when they are in pain, but there are some subtle signs to watch out for when it comes to dental issues.
Bad breath from bacteria in the mouth is a common indicator of periodontal disease and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
Dropping food, drooling when eating, acting hungry but refusing to eat could all be signs that your pets’ mouth hurts. Even crying when yawning or not grooming themselves could be signs of oral pain.
Of course, if you notice any redness of the gums, bleeding from the mouth, swelling around the mouth or even the eye area, it could indicate an infection, abscess or broken tooth.
Inflammation and infection have been linked to numerous problems including heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, and liver disease. Bone loss from a chronic infection can even lead to a jaw fracture. In fact, oral infectious diseases are known as "the silent killer."
Cats are prone to a special problem called feline tooth resorption lesions. Advanced cases are very painful and can become infected.
Dental disease, if caught early is relatively simple to treat with a thorough cleaning and polishing performed under general anesthesia. Once the teeth have been professionally cleaned, at home brushing can begin.
Unsure if your pet is having oral problems? Bring him by and have one of our trained technicians evaluate his mouth to get a general idea if a dental cleaning is in order.
Here are some tips for brushing your pets' teeth at home- click on each one for a larger version.
AVMA: Pet Dental Care
American Veterinary Dental College: Good oral health is an important part of good general health for your pet.
Veterinary Partner: Dental Care and What to Expect if your Pet Needs it
Veterinary Partner: Clinical Signs of Oral or Dental Disease in Pets
Bradfordville Animal Hospital, Alex Steverson, DVM