Your pet’s teeth and gums are a gateway to their overall well-being. A pet with healthy teeth and gums can eat, play all their favorite games, and live without pain. Too often, however, pet dental health is neglected. In fact, more than half of cats and dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they are three years old. Yet, with routine veterinary care, we can prevent and reverse disease.
Recognizing Dental Disease
Unfortunately, the signs of disease are not always obvious. More than half of each tooth lies below the gum line, meaning many signs of disease such as periodontal pockets, root damage, and bone loss are only visible with dental X-rays. For a full dental evaluation, a visit to the vet is essential. Yet, there are some noticeable signs that a discerning eye (or nose) can pick up. These may include:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Difficulty eating or picking up toys
- Chewing or grabbing toys only on one side of the mouth
- Traces of blood in their water or food bowl
- Changes in behavior (lethargy, aggression, etc.)
If you notice one or more of these, contact your veterinarian for a dental evaluation.
The Dangers of Dental Disease
Just like your own teeth, plaque and tartar can develop over time and cause discoloration on your dog’s or cat’s teeth. Plaque and tartar are more than just cosmetic defects — they carry bacteria. These bacteria cause dental disease. They eat away at the tooth’s enamel and eventually the bone, causing severe damage to the tooth. In time, bacteria can even leak into your pet’s bloodstream and cause damage elsewhere in the body. Dental disease is painful for your pet, and detrimental to their quality of life. Yet, with proactive dental care, you can help prevent this disease altogether.
A Proactive Approach to Pet Dental Care
The best approach for treating dental disease is preventing it altogether. Ways to do this include dental exams during annual wellness visits, routine professional cleanings under anesthesia, and home dental care. Annual wellness visits give us a chance to keep tabs on your pet’s oral health and schedule anesthetic cleanings before disease progresses to irreversible stages. During an anesthetic dental cleaning, we’re able to get a detailed view of your pet’s entire mouth and provide an intensive cleaning to reverse any disease progression. Furthermore, we’re able to advise you on proper home dental care so you can play an active role in preventing disease as well.
We recommend annual wellness exams and will recommend dental cleanings based on your pet’s oral health. Learn more about our dental care here and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions at (662) 234-4336.