As veterinary dental month comes to a close, the focus of our pet’s dental health should not decline. Dental disease is more than bad breath and tartar on the teeth and can have a great impact on your pet’s overall health.
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical illness our adult pets face. Periodontal disease is the infection and inflammation of the structures that support the tooth within the jaw. Periodontal disease begins with the formation of tartar on the teeth, as the tartar gets under the gum line the damage to the tooth structure begins. Some of the early signs include bad breath, gingivitis (redness of the gum) and bleeding of the gums. If left untreated periodontal disease can lead to loose and painful teeth, tooth root abscess, or osteomyelitis (infection of the bone).
Periodontal disease can be difficult for pet parents to recognize in the early stages. Early signs may include bad breath and possibly loose teeth. Since our pets can’t tell us when a tooth hurts only a thorough oral exam can diagnose early stages of periodontal disease. Your veterinarian should examine your dog’s teeth during their annual examination. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a thorough oral exam under general anesthesia including cleaning all of the teeth and taking dental x-rays to allow for the early detection and treatment of periodontal disease.
Most human dentists recommend that you have your teeth cleaned and examined twice a year and have dental x-rays completed once a year, and we brush our teeth twice a day! So the next time you visit your veterinarian ask about your pet’s dental health and what can be done to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and pain-free.
Resource: American Veterinary Dental College
By: Dr. Andy Mack