Featured News 2018 How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

Did you know the condition of your pet's teeth is essential to his or her health?

Just like you, your pet only has one set of adult teeth, and poor hygiene can lead to serious medical problems. If a pet contracts gum disease, it can develop into a bacterial infection that can spread to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or other vital organs.

According to The American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of all dogs and 70 percent of all cats show signs of oral disease by age three. It is essential for owners to brush their pet's teeth often, schedule routine dental check-ups, and feed their animals pet food that has dental benefits.

Get a Head Start on Healthy Hygiene

Like us, both puppies and kittens develop a set of baby teeth that eventually fall out to make room for a set of adult teeth. This will occur by the time he or she is 6 months old. At this point, it's vital to take your puppy to the vet to make sure that all adult teeth have grown in naturally. In some cases, a puppy won't lose all his or her baby teeth—this creates dental overcrowding and possible tartar accumulation.

Healthy Teeth for Pets suggests that owners follow the "3 D's" to good gum health:

  • Daily brushing
  • Dentistry
  • Diet

To brush your pet's teeth correctly, start softly. It's easier to do with a finger brush. Pull up your pets lips and simply scrub the teeth like you would your own.

Dentistry is another essential component to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Talk with your vet about an annual or semi-annual cleaning. When it comes to diet, choose dry, crunchy kibble for your pet. These can help remove plaque and scrub teeth clean. Additionally, some dry foods include hexametaphosphate, an ingredient that blocks tartar formation.

Dangers of Bad Dental Hygiene

Not only will healthy teeth keep your pet happy, but good teeth could prolong his or her life. There are over 300 types of bacteria that live in a dog or cat's mouth. Many of these bacteria work with small food particles and saliva to form plaque. While brushing can diminish the amount of plaque build-up, this clear film will usually reappear within 6 hours.

Once the plaque hardens into a yellow or brown substance, it is known as tartar. This cannot be removed with conventional brushing, but many veterinarians can give your animal a dental prophylaxis to remove the build-up. An excess amount of unregulated tartar can lead to abscess, periodontitis, bone loss, gingivitis, and tooth loss.

The Risks of Periodontal Disease

One of the major dangers of neglected dental care is periodontal disease. This illness can be remedied if it is caught early, but in some cases it can result in life-threatening conditions. Symptoms include inflammation, redness at the gum line, and visible tartar build-up.

From there, if the disease goes untreated, your pet may contract advanced gingivitis. This is increased inflammation may lead to bleeding, swelling in the gums, and bad breath.

Early periodontitis comes next and appears as gum regression. This illness also causes damage to the jaw bone. By the fourth state, advanced periodontitis, the gum regression has led to deep pockets of infection. Teeth may begin to fall out, and your pet will suffer severe bone loss. At this point, the bacteria may spread to his or her internal organs.

If your pet has discolored teeth, red or bleeding gums, excessive tarter, missing teeth, loss of appetite, facial swelling, or other odd behaviors, you should contact a veterinarian immediately to test your pet for periodontitis disease.

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