It is easy to forget that a pet’s world revolves around its mouth. Poor dental hygiene can leave its mark on your pet. Surprisingly, bad breath (halitosis) is an abnormal condition in cats and dogs, often indicating a serious underlying condition called periodontal disease, which affects the mouth, gums and teeth. Indicators include bad breath, bleeding of the mouth, and altered behavior including abnormal chewing, absence of self grooming, irritability and crying. However, pet dental pain is not always readily apparent. Companion animals are evolutionarily inclined to conceal disease and outward weakness, making it important to closely monitor your pet’s mannerisms to discover underlying issues.
Periodontal disease is the most common disorder among pets nationwide, affecting more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats by age three. If left untreated, it can develop into serious health problems. Advanced dental disease significantly impacts your pet’s quality of life, leading to oral pain that makes feeding difficult and resulting in chronic discomfort. In some cases, harmful bacteria originating in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, causing serious complications of the heart, kidneys and liver, as well as other systemic disorders.
Fortunately, due to its generally slow rate of progression, dental disease is exceedingly preventable. Just like in humans, a good oral health routine is key in avoiding most types of periodontal disease. The first (and best) line of defense in preventative dental care are regularly scheduled exams where we will comprehensively evaluate your pet’s oral health and at home dental program. We will show you how to easily brush your pet’s teeth and may recommend special chew toys and a tartar control diet (Hills T/D). A dental cleaning may be necessary to restore proper dental health. Under anesthesia we take dental radiographs to identify potential issues, and then use hand scaling and curettage to remove plaque and tarter, followed by polishing and rinsing, improving tooth and gum health significantly.
If your pet is experiencing prolonged bad breath, or it has been more than six months since your last appointment, please schedule a dental examination at Antioch Vet today.