Clients often ask veterinarians to look at their pet’s teeth only after they notice an odor coming from their animal’s mouth, and 95% of the time we see an indication of a gum problem. This means pets need regular dental health check-ups and cleaning just as we do.
Studies show that 60% to 85% of all pets over age three need immediate dental care. That’s because the periodontal disease process has already begun and-without professional cleaning and frequent home care-a good number of these pets will lose some or all of their teeth. Their overall health also can be affected because the same bacteria found in the mouth of severely diseased teeth can be traced to the liver, kidney and heart, resulting in premature wearing of these vital organs. 40% of cats requiring dental care have painful cavities below the gum line: cavities that are not noticed without a professional examination. Human toothpaste is too strong for your pet’s digestive tract, so talk to us about toothpaste, toothbrushes and cleaning pads especially made for your pet. You can help ward off dental problems by regular checkups in our office and by cleaning your pet’s teeth daily, just as you do your own. You don’t need to floss their teeth, but you can clean them either with gauze or a toothbrush. Your pet will open its mouth when you place your hand over the top of the muzzle. If you use gauze, take a piece about 2 x 6 inches and wrap it around your index finger, using it like a toothbrush in a short, back-and-forth rubbing motion over both the tooth and gum area. Do the same thing if you use a soft-textured, multi-tufted toothbrush with a rounded tip. Talk to us about our teeth-cleaning diets and antiseptic mouthwashes.
If early tartar formation is arrested and prevented-and if proper prophylactic teeth cleaning and dental care are provided-your pet will enjoy a healthier and happier life.