February is Pet Dental Health Month in the veterinary world and there is good reason why we devote a whole month to dental disease in pets. By the age of just two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease.
If left untreated, oral disease can cause pain and infection, strongly affecting the behavior of your furry friend. For these reasons, protecting your pet’s dental health is as critical as protecting them from heartworm disease. Did you know that “doggy breath” is not normal? Bad breath may be a sign of serious internal problems. Bad breath is often the first noticeable symptom of dental disease.
When we clean your pet’s teeth we use an ultrasonic scaler like many human dentists do to clean both above and below the gum line. We then chart all the teeth, noting any areas of concern such as pockets, cavities or broken teeth then follow with a polishing.
Up to 2/3 of a tooth is under the gum line which means that most of dental disease is also under the gum line as well. Dental x-rays are often recommended to reveal any problems that may be lurking under the surface. Home care is important to maintain a healthy mouth in your pet.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the gold standard for keeping their teeth clean and gums happy but there are other products that may be helpful as well; including chews, dental diets, oral rinses or water additives. These can all work together to keep that doggy or kitty breath at bay.