Dentistry is an important field of veterinary science. We have seen an increase in awareness of the importance dental care to the overall health of the animals we treat. Alarmingly, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three.
Just like humans, your pet’s teeth need looking after too! The health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall wellness and quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel and smell if you never brushed your teeth. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it!
Dental disease begins with a build up of bacteria in your pets mouth. Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris, can cause plaque to accumulate on the tooth. Over time plaque turns to tartar (brown or yellow material starting near the gum line of the tooth). Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can cause oral pain, tooth loss and even organ problems. It also has the potential to shorten your pets lifespan.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow-brown tartar around the gumline
- Inflamed, red gums
- Bad breath
- Change in eating or chewing habits (especially in cats)
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Pain or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth