Are dentals really necessary?

Dental care is one of the most commonly overlooked issues in our pets.  In fact, most dogs and cats begin to show some signs of dental problems by age three.  You may think that these dental problems are simply a cosmetic issue, however, poor oral hygiene can seriously affect the overall health and well-being of your pet.  If left untreated, infection and disease can quickly develop.  

What causes dental issues?

Most oral hygiene issues begin with plaque.  Plaque forms as bacteria combine with saliva and debris.  If plaque is left untreated, it hardens to create tartar along the teeth and gum lines.  The bacteria present in tartar then begin to irritate the gums, causing inflammation.  As inflammation worsens, bacteria continue to damage the gums and tissue surrounding the teeth.  If these conditions are not addressed, bacterial infections such as periodontal disease can develop in the areas surrounding the teeth.  Additionally, bacteria associated with periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other major organs.  This can lead to a much more serious and extensive infection in the kidneys, heart, liver, or other parts of the body.

Signs of dental disease:

  • Bad breath

  • Red, irritated gums

  • Pain or bleeding when eating

  • Loss of appetite

  • Plaque or tartar

  • Missing and/or broken teeth

How should I care for my pet's teeth?

Good oral hygiene can be easily maintained, especially if preventative methods are started at an early age.  There are many ways to provide your pet with good dental care.   

  • Feed your pet quality, coarse-textured food and treats. A healthy, balanced diet greatly reduces the buildup of plaque and tarter.

  • Purchase an at-home cleaning kit. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other cleaning products help to effectively remove plaque and kill bacteria.

  • Have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned. Professional cleanings are extremely effective and recommended at least once yearly.

  • Make sure you get your pet in for their yearly checkup. Yearly check-ups greatly reduces the risk of serious oral diseases. Our veterinarians can easily and quickly examine your pet’s teeth and gums to determine if any problems are developing.