It’s a startling statistic – 85 percent of all pets experience periodontal disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss.
So today we’re discussing teeth cleaning for dogs and cats and why it’s so important.
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on your pet’s teeth. Within just days, minerals in the saliva adhere to the plaque to form tartar. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums.
Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis make up the changes that are referred to as periodontal disease. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver.
What happens during teeth cleaning for dogs and cats?
During a dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed, and the health of the entire mouth is evaluated. This procedure can only be performed while the pet is under general anesthesia to keep your pet free from pain and allow your veterinarian to fully inspect the teeth and remove tartar.
How do I know if my pet needs a dental cleaning?
Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to spot dental disease in the early stages. Tartar may appear as a brownish-gold buildup on the teeth, close to the gum line, while redness or bleeding along the gum line may indicate gingivitis.
Other signs of dental disease include:
Pawing at the mouth;
Loose or missing teeth.
(If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.)
What are the benefits of teeth cleaning for dogs and cats?
A professional dental cleaning removes not only the plaque and tartar that are visible on the teeth surfaces but also the bacteria that is under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection and protects your pet from pain and tooth loss.
What can I do to keep my pet’s teeth clean at home?
Just as with people, daily brushing can help remove food particles from between your pet’s teeth. You can use a child’s toothbrush or purchase a finger brush. Human toothpastes should be avoided because they contain ingredients that should not be swallowed by your pet.
You can purchase pet toothpaste, which is available in flavors such as chicken, seafood, and malt. Several dental diets and treats can also help keep plaque and tartar to a minimum.
A professional teeth cleaning for dogs and cats is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth and under the gum tissue to protect your pet’s health. With a professional cleaning and follow-up care, gingivitis can be reversed.
Periodontal disease is not reversible, but diligent at-home dental care and regular veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the condition. Don’t put your pet at risk – call our office today to schedule an appointment to evaluate their dental health.