Your pet's dental health is an important part of his overall health. 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. Dental disease is an often unrecognized source of pain in pets.
Common signs of oral disease include:
- Tartar buildup
- Red and swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Generalized depression.
Dental disease causes pain and 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, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can 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.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends regular oral examinations and dental cleanings, under general anesthesia, for all adult dogs and cats. A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. This is recommended because bacteria 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. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss. We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures you can begin at home.
For more information about dental care for your pet, including helpful documents on brushing your pet's teeth and dental diets, visit our Pet Dental Care page.