Pets

Did you know?

"If not treated, bacteria from your pet's mouth via the bloodstream can start infections in vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys."

Dental Care

"Why should I consider a full ultrasonic dental de-scale and polish in my pet? Let’s begin with an overview of dental disease."

Overview**

Why is good oral hygiene important?

Just as in humans, your pet's teeth require continuous care. Poor oral hygiene leads to the accumulation of dental plaque that induces a painful inflammatory response in the supportive periodontium (gums, ligaments and bone supporting the teeth) ie periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the most common oral disease and involves bacteria infecting the gums, ligaments and bone tissues that support and attach to the teeth. It includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium).
If not treated, bacteria from your pet's mouth via the bloodstream can start infections in vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.


Signs of periodontal disease

  • Bad breath
  • Accumulation of dental plaque near the gum line
  • Changed eating behaviour ie. Loss of appetite or difficulty chewing food
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth or exposed root surfaces

What causes periodontal disease

The condition is caused by residual food, bacteria and calcium deposits (tartar) that collect in the spaces between the gum and lower part of the tooth. If it continues unchecked, the infection caused by this material collecting will spread to the bone in which the teeth are rooted (jawbones). The bone then remodels itself and the teeth are slowly detached from their supporting tissues. Bacteria then have access to the bloodstream and may damage vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
So when does my pet require a full dental at Seaforth Veterinary Surgery?
If you are dealing with a puppy or kitten then true, dental care begins at home. However by the time we see many of our middle aged to older pets the problem is often too far developed to consider prevention alone.
The trick with prevention in these cases is to start with a full ultrasonic dental descale and polish, followed by dental wax application (see point 2 below)
 

How to prevent periodontal disease?

From what has been said above it is clear that the best way to avoid periodontal disease is to prevent plaque formation.
This is best done when the teeth are already clean. So either start when young or get your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned before embarking on the following recommendations.

In order of effectiveness this includes:

  1. Brushing: Since tooth brushing is considered the most effective method of removing plaque, most veterinarians recommend an oral hygiene program, which includes brushing your pet's teeth. It is important to use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for pets. Pet toothbrushes are ultra soft and shaped to fit your pet's mouth and teeth. Pet toothpastes have flavours that appeal to pets and need not be rinsed. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda. These products often contain ingredients that should not be swallowed. The down side is that to be effective you really need daily or at least every other day brushing, which many clients find difficult to find the time.
  2. Rinse/Gel applications: rinses and gels are a bit like mouth wash for humans. As no brushing is required application is easier, but less effective. Again daily application is necessary. Occasionally these products can brown the teeth as well.
  3. Special Diets: Hill’s t/d, dental care science diets, Eukanuba diets with DDS are all examples of diets that help keep teeth clean. We tend to advise their usage in conjunction with 1-3 above.
**Based upon Virbac’s “Good Teeth, Good Health” leaflet. www.virbac.com.au