The relationship between oral and overall health is recognized by most people, but many don’t recognize the body-mouth connection in pets. Today we’re sharing information regarding the importance of animal dental care to help pets live longer, happier lives.
The Benefits of Animal Dental Care
Just like people, cats and dogs get gum disease when the balance of the mouth is upset, allowing harmful bacteria to overpopulate. These organisms form a sticky film of plaque that protects bacteria from being cleared from the mouth and traps food particles that bacteria feast upon. Without animal dental care, plaque hardens into tartar at the gum line, in the form of yellow, brown, or greenish deposits.
As they eat, bacteria produce waste that enflames delicate gum tissue, triggering an inflammatory response. At this stage, you will notice that your pet has persistent foul-smelling breath. Gums pull away, exposing roots, and leaving them disposed to decay without the protection of enamel. When bacteria penetrate more deeply they gradually destroy periodontal ligaments and bone that hold teeth in place.
Does Your Pet Have Gum Disease?
As with your pet’s overall health, prevention is the best approach to preserve their dental health. If you notice any of these symptoms, please schedule a veterinary visit immediately:
Chewing on one side of the mouth;
Difficulty picking up food;
Frequent sneezing or nasal discharge;
Lumps in the mouth;
Red or bleeding gums;
Shyness about head touching;
Vocalization when the pet yawns or eats.
What You Need To Know Dog Animal Dental Care
Your canine friend needs more than routine teeth cleaning. They need a comprehensive oral examination with dental charting to note abnormal, missing, extra, damaged, or loose teeth.
When the cleaning begins, tartar is removed from the visible portion of the teeth. Surfaces below the gum line are cleaned and smoothed to encourage a tight seal. Using a periodontal probe, the pocket around each tooth is measured to determine if gum disease is present, and if so, the severity.
If measurements are concerning, the doctor may recommend digital x-rays to assess what is going on beneath gums. Deeper cleaning or application of a topical antibiotic may be recommended before the teeth are polished to an attractive gleam.
Cats Need Dental Care, Too!
While cats are not as likely to be fed starchy and sweet human morsels, they are still disposed to to gum disease and other dental problems. In addition, wet food tends to coat teeth, contributing to decay and gum disease. Help your feline friend live well, with regular veterinary dental care.
With Or Without Anesthetic During Animal Dental Care?
In some cases, a pet may not have to be anesthetized for dental care. This can be a good option for a pet who has a medical condition that makes anesthetic risky or to routinely maintain a clean mouth for the pet who does not have serious oral problems.
In the past, dogs and cats maintained a natural diet and lifestyle that minimized the risk of dental problems. Today’s pets, however, need your help in staying healthy and happy. Call our office today to learn more about the importance of animal dental care, or to schedule an appointment.