Periodontal disease affects 70-80% of pets by 3 years of age.
Bacteria present in plaque will lead to inflammation of the gums, bad breath, bleeding, bone loss, painful tooth abscessation and eventual tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can also lead to more serious, systemic diseases, such as heart and kidney disease.
These conditions are painful for the pet and can be expensive to treat, therefore, prophylactic treatment to keep the teeth and gums healthy is of great importance.
Tooth brushing is the single most important preventative measure to be taken to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Your pet’s teeth should be brushed at least three times weekly, although daily brushing is best. Some dental chews that contain chlorhexidine, which kills bacteria, can be of benefit, but are no substitute for brushing.
We recommend toothpaste formulated for pets, which do not foam like human toothpastes. Dogs accept the poultry flavored toothpastes better, whereas cats seem to like the seafood flavored toothpastes. Click here for AAHA Dental Care Guidelines, which includes an instructional video on teeth brushing.
PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING
Despite regular brushing, your pet will likely require a professional dental cleaning at some point. Some breeds require more frequent cleanings than others. Dental cleanings are day procedures that require anesthesia. Constant monitoring and IV fluids are administered during the procedure. Your pet will have their teeth scaled and polished, both above and below the gumline, as well as have a fluoride treatment. If bone loss (periodontal disease) is identified, dental radiographs are taken to reveal the extent of the disease in order to determine what further measures should be taken, if any. If extractions are necessary, your pet will receive intra-operative and post-operative pain medication, as well as antibiotics.