Dental disease is very common in cats and dogs. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of tooth disorders. If left unattended these may cause irreversible damage to the dog’s teeth, gums and jawbones. Stopping the build up of plague can prevent dental disease.
Signs of dental disease
Plague is a yellowish white deposit made up of bacteria and debris, which forms around the surface of the teeth. In time it hardens to become yellowish brown tartar (sometimes called calculus) at the base of the tooth which gradually spreads until it may cover the whole of its surface. As well as the visible tartar there may be other indications of disease. Foul breath is very common and the pain resulting from advanced dental disease may cause difficulties in eating. If your dog dribbles excessively and sometimes this is flecked with blood or shows signs of pain and discomfort such as head shaking and pawing at its mouth it may have problems with its teeth.
However it is uncommon for them to express pain and they can suffer in silence. Therefore it is very important to check the teeth regularly.
How does dental disease affect my pet’s health ?
The tartar hidden below the gum line is the main cause of problems. It contains bacteria which will attack the surrounding gum tissue causing painful inflammation (gingivitis) and infection can track down to the tooth roots. Pus may build up in the roots and form a painful abscess. This inflammation wears away tissue from the gum, bones and, as the disease becomes more advanced, the teeth will loosen and fall out. Bacteria and the poisons they produce can also get into the bloodstream and cause damage throughout the body in organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.
How can dental disease be treated ?
Any loose teeth will have to be removed because the disease is too advanced to be treated. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics before doing dental work if there are signs of infection. Your vet will remove the tartar and clean the remaining teeth, usually with an ultrasonic scaling machine. Finally, your dog’s teeth will be polished to leave a smooth surface which will slow down the build up of plaque in the future. However, it is inevitable that plaque will re-appear. To keep your dog’s teeth in good condition it is likely that they will need regular scaling and polishing, in some cases at intervals twelve months
In the wild your pet’s teeth would be much cleaner because its diet would contain harder material than are found in commercially tinned or packaged foods. Cats and dogs naturally eat the bones, fur, etc of their prey, which wear away deposits of tartar. Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow the build up of plaque. The extra chewing involved helps control infection because it stimulates the production of salvia which has natural antibiotic properties. There are special diets to help maintain clean teeth. We also have a liquid you can add daily to the drinking water that prevents tartar buildup in cats and dogs .
What else can i do to keep my pets teeth clean ?
Brushing your pet’s teeth is just as important in preventing dental disease as brushing your own. Ideally your pet should get used to its teeth being cleaned from an early age. Wrapping a piece of soft gauze around your finger and gently rubbing the pet’s teeth should get it used to the idea. You can then move on to using a toothbrush specially designed with soft bristles. Toothbrushes, which fit over the end of your finger, are available for cats and dogs
For those of you who find this difficult you can use dentagen aqua daily in the drinking water .
. There are some mouth washes and antibacterial gels, Logic oral gel, which can help to reduce plaque deposits and prevent infection. Do not attempt to use human toothpaste, which will froth up in mouth, your pet will not like the taste and it could your pet serious harm.
We are also recommend special foods for both dogs and cats which help to maintain good oral health.
PLEASE RING our specially trained nurses at the All Care Vetero Centre for a free dental check on