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February is National Pet Dental Health Month
so let’s talk about teeth.
Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says:
A healthy mouth = a healthy pet.
A sick mouth = a sick pet.
Bacteria that builds up on the teeth can
travel to the heart, kidneys, liver, and elsewhere,
causing serious disease in your pet.
The good news is, you can start an
at-home dental program to keep your
pet’s mouth clean and healthy.
Can you name the signs of dental disease?
Do you know how to keep your pet’s mouth healthy?
PennVet has the answers, below.

Click pictures to enlarge, for easy reading.

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Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have the answers, in this National Pet Dental Health Month special report.

PetDental_logoPet

Q: How do bacteria affect my pet’s mouth?
A: Bacteria play a role in the formation of plaque and tartar. When bacteria combine with saliva and food debris in the channel between the tooth and the gum, plaque forms and accumulates on the tooth. Bacteria continue to grow in the plaque and, as calcium salts are deposited, plaque becomes tartar.

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

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

Q: Is tartar build-up dangerous to my pet?
A: Yes. If tartar is not removed from your pet’s teeth, pockets of pus may appear along the gumline and further separate the tooth from the gum, which allows more food and bacteria to accumulate. Without proper dental treatment, gingivitis — and possibly periodontal disease — may develop.

Tooth model 2 (2)

Click to enlarge

Q: Can bacteria in my pet’s mouth cause other problems?
A: If bacteria build-up in your pet’s mouth causes periodontal disease, systemic health problems that affect the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs may occur. Oral disease may also affect your pet’s behavior and sociability with others.

Q: How common is oral disease for pets?
A: Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs. Many factors contribute to the prevalence and severity of periodontal disease, including breed, genetics, age, diet, chewing behavior, and systemic health.

On Thursday, we will discuss the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease. Stay tuned!

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Since it’s already the 17th, I should tell you that February is National Pet Dental Health Month.
PetDental_logoPet

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

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

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

  • 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.

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.)
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)

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)

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

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This post originally appeared February 15, 2011.

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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)

Read Full Post »