Periodontal Disease and Dental Cleaning
It is important for your pet’s teeth to be examined and evaluated to see if dental work is necessary. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect humans, it affects dogs and cats too. Periodontal disease starts with plaque formation on the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form a film over the tooth called plaque. The minerals in the saliva eventually turn plaque into dental tartar (calculus), a hard material that forms on the tooth.
The bacteria in the plaque and tartar spread into the gum line and release toxins that affect the support network of the tooth. This creates a pocket around the tooth. Signs of periodontal disease include foul breath, redness or swelling around the gums, and pain when eating. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not supposed to have bad breath! It is a sign of dental disease! As periodontal disease progresses, the tooth will become loose. Our veterinarians can diagnose periodontal disease with a simple oral exam. Periodontal disease can affect just one tooth or the whole mouth. Recent studies have shown that oral health can be linked to kidney, heart, and metabolic problems.
We recommend routine dental cleanings for the prevention of periodontal disease. Our scaler and polisher removes tartar from teeth and thus prevents further advancement of periodontal disease. Tooth extractions can also be performed if necessary. All animals are placed under a general anesthetic and intubated. Your pet is monitored closely by a veterinary assistant. We recommend routine dental cleaning be performed before severe tartar build-up occurs.
At-Home Preventative Care
There are many ways you can prevent or slow the progression of tartar build-up in your pet at home.
- Routine brushing- The most aggressive way to prevent plaque or tartar build-up is routine brushing. Your pet’s teeth should be brushed a minimum of 5 times weekly in order for this method to be effective. A non-fluoride toothpaste should be used as dogs and cats can get fluoride toxicity from regular human toothpaste. We sell a number of different brushes as well as flavored toothpastes that are tailored for dogs and cats. If you are interested in brushing your pet’s teeth, ask us about the products we carry today! However, we realize that many people do not have the time or means necessary to regularly brush their pets teeth. In that case, look at the other options below.
- Treats- There are a number of treats that promote oral health, including Greenies. We sell Greenies for all sizes of dogs and cats in our clinic. Greenies, as well as some other treats, are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. When looking for a treat to promote oral health in your pet, look for the seal of approval by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Some treats may be too hard and cause excessive wear while others could potentially cause a gastrointestinal foreign body or obstruction, so it is important to be selective with choosing an oral chew for your pet.
- Diet- Prescription diets are also available for animals with periodontal disease. Hill’s Science Diet t/d has a unique kibble scrub that can help remove plaque and tartar, and is clinically proven to do so. Hill’s t/d can be ordered and delivered to our clinic upon request and examination of your pet’s teeth.