Good dental hygiene is essential for a happy, healthy pet. Studies have shown that animals with good teeth and gums often live longer, healthier lives.
What is dental disease?
Dental disease or “peridontitis” is the accumulation of bacteria or tartar on the teeth.
In the mouth bacteria builds up and forms plaque. The bacteria irritates the gums causing them to become swollen and inflamed (gingivitis). The bacteria continue to adhere to the teeth and interact with saliva, eventually developing into tartar (calculus). Continued calculus formation allows the bacteria to travel under the gums and cause further damage to the tissue and underlying bone.
How will I know if my pet has dental disease?
Signs of dental disease include:
Smelly breath (halitosis)
Difficulty or refusal to eat
Red or bleeding gums
Sore mouth and teeth
The vet will also check your pet’s teeth every visit – that way we can easily identify if there are any problems with their teeth.
Often, our pets can be in pain and not give us an indication that they are sore. It is therefore really important that we pay attention to any changes in their behaviours and have them checked by a vet.
How can I reduce the risk for my pet?
There are a number of preventative options available to reduce the risk of your pet developing dental disease. These include:
Annual prophylactic scale and polish
Dental diets: Hills t/d, Royal Canin ‘Dental’ – the biscuits are designed to be abrasive, removing the tartar when chewing.
Greenies or Oravet – the unique design works in conjunction with your pets chewing to remove plaque and calculus from the teeth
Eeeek! My pet has dental disease! How can it be treated?
When an animal has dental disease a “dental” is required – similar to what we have done when we visit the dentist! This requires your pet to undergo a general anaesthetic and occasionally have xrays taken. The tartar will be removed and any damaged teeth will need to be pulled out. Your pet may also need antibiotics and pain relief. After the dental, it is recommended to feed soft food to allow the gums to heal. After the dental, we can help you work out the best preventative care for your pet.
What complications can occur if it isn't treated?
The bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to vital organs in the body including the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. This can result in long term complications that can leave your pet very unwell.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s dental hygiene, please feel free to contact us.