Dental disease is the most common ailment in pets, affecting 70% of dogs and 60% of cats over the age of four. Dogs and cats are affected by a variety of different dental disorders, but the most commonly diagnosed condition is periodontal disease, or inflammation and infection of the gums, bone, and support structures of the tooth. Dental disease is generally more common in small breed dogs than in large breeds.
When plaque and dental tartar (calculus) build up on the tooth, this infection causes gingivitis and periodontal disease, which in turn can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. When this happens, problems with major organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and lungs can develop. Therefore, not only does this condition cause bad breath, tooth loss, and pain, but it can also cause major health problems in your pet. A recent study shows that pets with good dental health live, on average, TWO YEARS LONGER than pets with poor dental health.
Home Dental Care
While dental disease occurs in most pets, there are many ways to slow its progress and prevent major health problems as a result. Here are some ways you can care for your pet's teeth at home, and slow the progression of dental disease:
- Brushing- This is the best option and the most effective, if done regularly. Only toothpastes made specifically for pets should be used. CLICK HERE FOR TIPS ON TOOTH BRUSHING
- OraVet Dental Sealant - This product is applied every 2 weeks at home, and has been shown to significantly reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar.
- Hill's t/d tartar control diet- We recommend using this specially formulated dog food as a treat. Almost as effective as brushing.
- CET Chews- These rawhide-like chews have a special anti-bacterial enzyme that helps slow plaque and tartar development
- Oral rinses- These anti-bacterial rinses slow down the buildup of plaque if used regularly.
- Over-the-counter dental chews- Items such as Dentastix and Greenies and other dental chews available in pet stores have varying degrees of effectiveness. You should consult a veterinarian before using these products.
- Dry dog food- Simply feeding dry dog food instead of canned food will help slow the buildup of dental tartar on your dog's teeth.
Professional Dental Care
No matter what steps are taken at home to aid in good dental hygiene, regular professional cleaning is necessary to maintain good dental health in dogs and cats, just like in people. This professional cleaning is done as an outpatient procedure, under general anesthesia, and it involves:
Thorough dental exam to check for periodontal disease, broken teeth, loose teeth, and abscesses.
Complete dental scaling using a state-of-the-art piezoelectric scaler above and below the gumline to remove tartar and plaque buildup.
Extraction of any diseased or painful teeth.
Complete polishing of all enamel surfaces.
OraVet Dental Sealant Application
Full-Mouth Digital Dental Radiographs
**It is important to note that "awake" or "non-anesthetic" dental cleanings offered by some practices or groomers are not recommended. It is impossible to clean the teeth adequately under the gumline (where the periodontal disease actually occurs) in an awake animal. The teeth may cosmetically look better, but the bacteria, plaque, tartar, and bad breath will remain.
For more information on Pet Dental Care, visit our Pet Health Library
Give us a call if you have any questions about your pet's dental care, if you'd like an estimate for a dental cleaning, or if you would like to set an appointment. When you call, ask us how you can get $40.00 OFF a professional dental cleaning procedure.