Why Is Dental Care So Important?
Dog and cat breath is nothing to smile about! Did you know it is estimated by the age of two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease (AVMA 2013)? Periodontal disease is the most common disease in cats and dogs. It is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are located on the teeth and the tissues surrounding the teeth (periodontium). Most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can’t see it. Bacteria that you can’t see can damage the tissues connecting the teeth and jaw. That’s why it’s so important to have your veterinarian regularly examine your pet’s teeth and perform regular professional dental cleanings.
The warning signs of possible dental disease in pets are:
- Redness of the gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Broken teeth
- Tenderness around the mouth and/or teeth
- Drooling or dropping food
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of appetite/poor appetite
- Weight loss
If left untreated, oral disease releases bacteria into your pet’s blood stream that can lead to disease of the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart, as well as diabetes complications and even cancer. These diseases can worsen with the constant presence of oral bacteria flushing into the bloodstream through inflamed or bleeding gums. Many of these conditions can improve once the dental disease is resolved and maintained.
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do between professional cleanings. Daily brushing is ideal, but we realize that’s not always realistic. If you can brush your pet’s teeth at least three times per week, you’re doing a great job! While it is best to brush, you can offer your pet a dental hygiene chew on days you cannot brush. There are also oral cleaning wipes, gel and water additives to help maintain good oral hygiene. If you do not know how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask us for help and we can show you!
In honor of National Dental Month, Four Corners Veterinary Hospital is offering $60 off your dog or cat’s dental cleaning and 10% off all dental products for the months of February and March. Please call our hospital at 925-685-0512 to set up your pet’s dental exam today!