Poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of dental disease – an oral inflammatory condition that is also known as gum disease, periodontal disease, and periodontitis. On its own, dental disease can be extremely painful and debilitating for your pet. However, many owners are surprised to learn that advanced dental disease can also lead to other chronic health issues, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.
These are just some of the reasons why it is crucial to take good care of your pets’ teeth and mouth. Here’s what you need to know about dental disease so that you can make sure that your precious pet has the best oral hygiene possible.
Aside from poor dental hygiene, there are a range of factors that can contribute to the development of dental disease in pets. It’s important to be aware that it is more common in older pets, so as your pet ages, it is especially important to take good care of their dental hygiene. A poor diet can also contribute to the development of dental disease in your pet, making it crucial to ensure your pet is on a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in nutrients. Dental sticks/chews can be a useful addition to your pet’s usual meals as they usually contain ingredients that are good for your pet’s teeth and oral health and their abrasive nature provides a cleaning action that can remove plaque from their teeth.
It is important to check your pet’s mouth regularly for signs of dental disease. There are a number of different signs that suggest that your furbaby could have dental disease. These include red, inflamed, or bleeding gums, missing or broken teeth, and particularly bad breath. Excessive drooling can also be a sign of dental disease as well as blood-stained saliva left in food/water bowls or on chew toys. Bleeding occurs as a result of the inflammation that helps to characterize dental disease. Many pets who are in the advanced stages of dental disease have difficulty eating and a preference for softer foods. You may also notice your pet rubbing at their face with their paws if it is causing them pain. You know your pet better than anyone, so if you have concerns about their health or behavior, speak to your vet.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent your pet from developing dental disease. Like humans, your pet can benefit from having their teeth brushed daily to reduce the build-up of plaque. You should use special veterinary toothpaste as human varieties are toxic to animals. A healthy diet can also help to prevent dental disease, and your vet can assist you in selecting a diet best suited for your pet.
Regular check-ups allow your vet to keep a lookout for any symptoms of dental disease and are more likely to pick up on any early signs, enabling early intervention that could prevent their oral disease from becoming progressively worse. Taking care of your pet’s dental hygiene with the help of your vet is the best way to prevent dental disease.
Much of the damage caused by dental disease is irreversible, so it really is essential that it is spotted and treated as quickly as possible. The treatment your vet will offer will depend on the severity of your pet’s dental disease. Some of the possible treatments include:
A deep professional clean, which will remove the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that is contributing to your pet’s dental disease
Your pet may be given antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory pain relief
In some cases, it might be necessary to surgically remove one or more of the teeth
Learn more about the health dangers of poor pet dental hygiene, contact Santa Monica Pet Medical Center in Santa Monica, CA at (310) 393-8218.