Did you know that 80% of owned dog and cats over three years of age do have some form of dental disease. Bad breath is not normal for your pet and can in fact be a sign of dental disease.

What causes dental disease?

Dental disease, or the medical name “periodontal disease”, is caused by infection called plaque. Plaque is made up of particles of food, saliva mixed with bacteria, which sticks to the tooth surface and if not removed will calcify into what we term tartar. This process occurs both below and above the gum line. Over time it can lead to the destruction of the tissues surrounding the teeth even the jawbone, resulting in bad breath, and a painful mouth. The final stage is loss of teeth. If left untreated, severe dental diseases can lead to significant heart, liver and kidney problems for your pet.

The good news is, in most cases, that this is preventable if pet owners regularly check their pet’s teeth and tackle potential dental problems nice and early.

What are the signs of dental disease?

There are a number of signs, which can alert you to the possibility that your pet may have dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolouration, plaque or tartar build up on teeth,
  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
  • Redness or inflammation of the gum
  • Swelling under the eye – can be a sign of a dental abscess
  • Discomfort, lumps or bleeding around the mouth
How can I prevent my pet from getting dental disease?

Regular Vet checks can help to identify the development of dental disease. Your Vet will discuss the best management plan for your pet. Generally premium food, specifically dental diets, can significantly reduce the development of tartar.
Raw bones are excellent for cleaning teeth. Any bone must be the appropriate size for the dog, and introduced slowly. It is good practice to supervise your dog when eating bones just in case they get into difficulty with them. Some chewy types of treats are also specifically designed to reduce tartar, promote healthy gums and freshen breath. If your pet is calm and relaxed, brushing their teeth with a specially designed pet toothbrush and pet tooth paste can be beneficial.

For more information about how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy visit MVH today.