Posts Tagged ‘National Pet Dental Health Month’

National Pet Dental Health Month

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Q: Can pets get cavities?
A: Pets, like their human owners, can get cavities. However cavities are relatively rare in pets because pets’ diets generally aren’t high in decay-causing sugars. Veterinary dental experts have noticed a mild rise in the incidence of cavities among pets fed sugary treats. To avoid cavities in your pet’s mouth, feed only pet food and treats designed for pets.

Q: My cat broke off a tooth. Can the tooth be replaced?
A: Veterinary dentists can install crowns and replacement teeth for pets with damaged or missing teeth. Your family veterinarian can provide a referral to a veterinary dental specialist, when it is appropriate.

Q: Isn’t bad breath in pets just natural?
A: No. While it is true that bad breath can indicate a more serious illness, bad breath in pets is most often caused by bacteria that form when plaque and tartar are not removed from the teeth, which may cause a gum infection.

Q: When is my pet too old for toothbrushing?
A: Your pet is never too old for toothbrushing. In fact, the older your pet gets, the more important it is to keep plaque and tartar from accumulating. Studies show that bacteria from dental diseases can move systematically into the vital organs. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is an important step in your pet’s overall good health.

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These questions and answers taken from “Dr. Logan answers your frequently asked questions” 
http://www.petdental.com/html/body_2a_faq.htm (expired link)

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Welcome to National Pet Dental Health Month!

A healthy mouth = a healthy pet. 

     “By the age of three, more than half of all cats and dogs are beginning to show signs of a dental problem.” – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What is periodontal disease?
     It is a disease affecting the tissues that support the teeth and can lead to destruction of the tooth root, gums, and jaw.

What are the precursors to periodontal disease?

  • Plaque – a colorless film containing bacteria
  • Tartar – hardened plaque along the gumline
  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums, leading to gum disease and tooth loss

     “Infection associated with periodontal disease can be responsible for bad breath, and bacteria can enter a pet’s blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.”  – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What are contributing factors to periodontal disease?

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Breed – especially among breeds of dogs and cats with small, crowded mouths
  • Age

What signs should I look for at home?

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Drooling
  • Tooth loss
  • Tartar buildup
  • Pain when eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Change of eating habits
  • Subdued behavior

What can I do about it?

  • Schedule your pet to get a dental exam and teeth cleaning from the veterinarian. Some pets may need the services of a veterinary dental specialist. Pets sometimes need root canals, just like people!
  • Clean your pet’s teeth after its meals, using a pet-specific toothpaste or liquid dentifrice.
  • Add Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to your pet’s drinking water.
  • Feed Prescription Diet t/d to healthy adult pets. Hill’s t/d food is designed to scrub your pet’s teeth as he chews.

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     Information for this article adapted from “Oral Health:  Caring for your pet” by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Copies of the pamphlet are available at our office.

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Since it’s already the 15th, I should tell you that February is National Pet Dental Health Month.

No doubt you’ve been furiously brushing your teeth after ingesting all the candy your Sweetie gave you yesterday.

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

After you’ve finished taking care of your own choppers, take a look inside your pet’s mouth.

  • Are any teeth loose, broken, or missing?
  • Are the gums swollen or inflamed?
  • Are there any growths on the gums, lips, roof or floor of the mouth?
  • Do you see pus or blood in the mouth?
  • Are the teeth yellow, brown, or crusted with tartar?
  • Is there a foul odor?
  • Is there fur wrapped around the teeth? (This happens mainly in pets that lick or chew at themselves often.)
  • Has your pet become reluctant to eat, drink cold water, or play with chew toys?
  • Is your pet drooling excessively?
  • Is there a lump beneath one or both eyes (this can signal a carnassial tooth root abscess.)

If you notice any of those signs in your pet, it’s time for a dental checkup.

Click to enlarge.

Good pet dental health begins at home.  Look for pet-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste is not recommended), gels and liquids meant for cleaning your pet’s mouth after meals.
Regular use of a dentifrice can help delay plaque and tartar buildup and it can help freshen your pet’s breath.  (We like Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene for Pets.)
Also, regularly cleaning your pet’s teeth after meals will allow you to notice any changes in oral health right away.

Left: a calculus shell Right: a molar once covered by the calculus shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

This is the inside of the calculus shell, which was molded to the tooth. (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

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