Oral health is a crucial part of the overall health of your pet. Periodontal disease is the number one health concern in your pet’s mouth. Most small breed dogs and some large breeds are commonly affected. Treatment is similar to people and requires cleaning/scaling of the teeth, polishing, and home care to manage its progression. See us for a dental consult and visit these related websites for more information.
Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease and more than half of all cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease.
Dogs can get many of the same or similar oral diseases as are seen in people. However, whereas the most common dental disease in people is tooth decay or cavities, in dogs it is periodontal disease. Whether someone develops cavities or not depends on multiple factors including environmental, bacterial plaque, and diet, but ultimately, there is tooth decay. In dogs, tooth decay is rare representing less than 10% of all dental problems. The most common dental problems seen in dogs are periodontal disease and fractured teeth.
Periodontal disease is a term used to describe infection and associated inflammation of the periodontium (the tissues surrounding the tooth). Specifically, there are four tissues that make up the periodontium. They are the gingiva, the cementum (covering of the root surface), the periodontal ligament (the ligament attaching the tooth root to the bone) and the alveolar bone. Periodontal diseases begin with gingivitis and left untreated, the infection often spreads deeper into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth becomes loose and may fall out over time.
The most important procedure you can do to maintain oral health and help decrease the frequency of dental procedures is home care.
Brushing teeth daily and regularly
How to get started
- Start slowly by having “play” sessions of only 5 minutes a day for 14 days. Play sessions will consist of favorite treats, a rug or blanket to sit on, and the pet sitting on the blanket. Reward your pet for sitting on the rug and playing with their lips and mouth WITHOUT GETTING UP OR MOVING THEIR HEAD.
- Day 3 or 4 introduces the toothpaste by applying it to your finger and then the teeth. Only use toothpaste designed for dogs and cats, you can find this on our online store! Rub the toothpaste with your finger on one tooth at a time and let your pet get used to the taste and the feeling.
- Day 7, start using something such as a finger brush by rubbing the teeth with the brush and toothpaste.
- Day 10-11 upgrade to a toothbrush! There are different sizes and kinds, such as smaller brushes, longer handled brushes for longer muzzled pets, and smaller bristled brushes for cats. Clean each tooth with the brush and then give a reward when done.
- Be persistent, but reward progress immediately with a treat or with a play period after each cleaning session. Develop a routine of cleaning the teeth at least once a week once the training is over, and keep it fun and as enjoyable as possible.
OraVet is a sealant that was applied at the time of your pet’s dental procedure. It is to be applied after brushing, once weekly, to help prevent and reduce the formation of plaque and calculus on the teeth. Home kits are available and strongly recommended.
There are special dental diets such as Hills t/d and Purina DH for dogs and cats. To promote oral health these diets offer everyday feeding solutions that work between dental brushing and cleanings to help reduce plaque and calculus accumulation. Dental chews are also available for dogs and cats. These are specially formulated and provide the mechanical activity of a rawhide chew. The chews that we carry are developed with chlorhexidine as the active ingredient that inhibits the growth of bacteria in your pets’ mouth. We also carry OraVet Chews as another dental treatment option.
Dental Examinations with your Vet
Every 6 months to a year, we recommend dental exams to ensure the cleanliness of your pet’s teeth. We do a full dental exam during their annual wellness checks. However, if your pet is more prone to periodontal disease, or you feel that there may be an issue we’re more than happy to take a look for you. Call and make an appointment!