According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Common signs of oral disease include tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, bad breath, and changes in eating or chewing habits. A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria, tartar and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Untreated, this accumulation results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss. See our video “Not Just a Dental” and our article Why Dentals?
There are other reasons why you should pay close attention to your pet’s dental health. Dental disease can affect other organs in the body: bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease may also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.
Starting home dental healthcare early in your pet’s life can greatly reduce the occurrence of dental disease and help to avoid lengthy and costly dental procedures. Ask us how and we can teach you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend diets and chews appropriate for them.
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