February Is Dental Month!
DOG DENTAL FACTS:
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at 3-4 weeks of age and 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about 4 months old.
Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include a yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.
Broken teeth are a common problem, especially among outdoor dogs. According to veterinary dental experts, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves or bones, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs.
CAT DENTAL FACTS:
Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about 2-3 weeks of age and 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about 3-4 months old.
Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats include yellow and brown tartar build-up along the gum line, red and inflamed gums, and persistent bad breath.
Resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats. Studies show that about 28% of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.
ORAL DISEASE IS THE MOST FREQUENTLY DIAGNOSED HEALTH PROBLEM FOR PETS
An astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS).
Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, particularly smaller breeds.
ORAL DISEASE BEGINS WITH A BUILD-UP OF BACTERIA IN THE PET’S MOUTH
Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque formation that accumulates on the tooth. As bacteria grow in the plaque and as calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar.
Bacterial plaque is the most important substrate in the development of periodontal disease. The inflammation and destruction that accompanies periodontal disease results from the direct action of bacteria and their by-products on periodontal tissues as well as the indirect activation of the pet’s immune response.
Without proper prevention of therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, tooth loss and other problems throughout the pet’s whole body.
Tartar has a contributory role due to its roughened surface, which enhances bacterial attachment that further’s plaque development and irritates gingival tissues.
PERIODONTITIS MAY LEAD TO OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS
Periodontal disease causes red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and bad breath. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease may damage other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, or lead to other serious health problems.
PET OWNERS SHOULD LOOK FOR WARNING SIGNS OF ORAL DISEASE
Common indications of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth and depression.
If any of these signs are present, the pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam.
Broken teeth are a common problem especially among outdoor dogs and aggressive chewers.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT PET OWNERS CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF ORAL DISEASE BY FOLLOWING THESE RECOMMENDATIONS:
The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.
Pet owners should practice a regular dental care regimen at home, which may include brushing the pet’s teeth with specially formulated toothpaste. It is best to start early, but grown dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing. Toothpaste for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet’s stomach.
Schedule regular follow-up care with your family veterinarian and ask about specially formulated foods with benefits in plaque and tartar removal.