During Pet Dental Health Awareness Month, pet owners can take advantage of the opportunity to focus on their pet’s teeth and gums. Dental health is important throughout the year, but February serves as a month-long chance to re-connect with the valuable components of pet dental care.
By the time a pet develops halitosis, or bad breath, periodontal disease may already be advancing inside the mouth. Left alone, periodontal disease can cause significant pain, bleeding, tooth loss, infection, and systemic conditions like heart or liver disease.
There are four stages of periodontal disease:
- Stage 1: Gingivitis is characterized by oral bacteria, plaque and tartar build up, inflammation, swelling, and bad breath.
- Stage 2: Early periodontitis involves deep pockets forming between recessed gums and tooth structures.
- Stage 3: Moderate periodontitis is diagnosed when advanced infection develops. Tooth loss, pain, abscess, and bleeding are commonly seen at this stage.
- Stage 4: Advanced periodontitis is characterized by extensive damage of the teeth and gums. Oral bacteria can seep into the bloodstream where it travels to the major organs.
The good news is that, despite how scary all of this sounds, periodontal disease is 100% preventable with some basic dental care tactics.
A Look Under the Lip
Every time we see a pet for their regular wellness exam, we take a close look at the appearance of the teeth, gums, and tongue. Since periodontal disease begins at the onset and accumulation of plaque and tartar, we aim for removal prior to damage along and beneath the gum line.
Routine dental cleanings, about once a year, under general anesthesia remove plaque and tartar, polish the teeth, and decrease the risks of periodontal disease. We also measure any pockets between the teeth and gums and take digital X-rays to learn more about the condition.
At Home Pet Dental Care
At the cornerstone of excellent pet dental health is a proactive approach at home. Daily brushing creates the best conditions for a pet’s teeth and gums, but even weekly brushing makes a big difference. Make it a fun, rewarding experience that includes praise, affection, and treats. Combine tooth brushing with regular grooming methods so your pet feels extra pampered. Water additives and dental treats for cats and dogs are part of a well-rounded approach.
Pet Dental Health for Lifelong Health
This February is Pet Dental Health Awareness Month. As a way to raise awareness among pet owners, this month-long event is designed to promote longevity, high quality of life, and health through excellent oral health.