Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. The American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris can accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bones surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also impact other bodily functions: bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. A physical exam combined with appropriate lab work can help determine if the infection in the mouth has spread.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.