When you consider what it takes to maintain your pet’s health, do you consider the brand of food you feed them? The exercise you help them achieve? The vaccinations they receive? How about their dental health? There are many things we do to help our pet stay healthy, but the truth is that while our pet’s dental health is an incredibly important part of their overall health, we rarely consider what maintaining their dental health actually means.
Understanding Your Pet’s Dental Health
A full eighty-five percent of all pets acquire some sort of periodontal disease by the time they are three years old, a statistic that is only made more shocking when one realizes that this disease is completely preventable. The disease begins when bacteria in the mouth combine with leftover food particles and form plaque on the surface of the teeth. It only takes a few days for minerals in the saliva to bond with the plaque and form hard tartar. In most cases, pet owners can only detect their pet’s periodontal disease by their bad breath, painful chewing or tooth loss, but by the time these symptoms are detected the pet may have already had dangerous bacteria from under the gums travel through their bloodstream to their heart, kidneys or liver.
Some pet owners seek to prevent the development of periodontal disease in their pet by performing daily tooth brushing and perhaps even giving their pet special dental chews. This can definitely be helpful, but a professional dental cleaning is required in order to remove all the plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth.
Your pet most likely needs a dental cleaning if they are suffering from redness or bleeding along their gumline, bad breath, drooling, difficulty chewing, loose or missing teeth or pawing at their mouth. Professional dental cleanings for pets require that they be under anesthesia, as they are unable to understand what is occurring and why it is good for them. The veterinarian will remove plaque and tartar from their teeth and under their gums, polish the enamel of their teeth and assess their health of their tongue, gums, lips and teeth. They may also recommend x-rays, application of fluoride, removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth and other necessary services. It is worthwhile to protect your pet’s dental health early on, as it will be far less expensive and uncomfortable than waiting until they are suffering from periodontal disease.