Did you know that most pets have some stage of dental disease? Up to 85% of pets age 3 or older have at least one periodontal-disease sign, meaning oral bacteria have set up shop and are seeding infection throughout the mouth. As dental disease advances, bacteria also travel through the bloodstream, infecting organs, and causing widespread disease. Avoid systemic disease and painful periodontal problems by staying on top of your pet’s oral health with these seven tips.
#1: Learn to identify dental-disease signs in your pet
The first step in tackling a problem is identification. After all, how can you battle your pet’s dental disease if you don’t know what it looks like? At the first dental-disease sign, enlist our help in getting your pet’s mouth healthy and infection-free again. Monitor your furry friend for the following problem signs at least once per week:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Yellow or brown tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Cracked, broken, missing, or loose teeth
- Bumps around the teeth, on the gums, or on the tongue
- Pawing at the face and mouth
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Inability to chew hard food
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping food when eating
#2: Choose the best dental products to care for your pet’s oral health
Not all dental products are created equal, although most claim to be the best at preventing dental disease. When searching for dental treats, chews, brushes, toothpaste, wipes, rinses, and water and food additives, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) seal of approval. A voluntary program, manufacturers send their product research to the VOHC, which evaluates their data against their standards for plaque and tartar prevention. If the product adequately slows plaque and tartar growth, the VOHC grants its seal of approval.
#3: Set time aside to brush your pet’s teeth
Sometimes after a hectic day of work and running the kids around, mustering up the energy to brush your own teeth before falling into bed can be difficult. But, your furry friend lacks thumbs, and she can’t brush her own teeth, so ensure you set time aside to scrub away her plaque before it hardens into tartar. Brushing your pet’s teeth a minimum of three times per week is the single best way to care for her oral health at home.
#4: Practice preventive dental care for your pet, rather than waiting for problems to appear
As with all other aspects of your pet’s health, prevention is the best dental medicine. Quick, easy, prophylactic dental cleanings not only keep your furry pal’s breath smelling fresh and her teeth shiny and clean, but also provide numerous other benefits. For example, removing mild tartar accumulation in the early stages of dental disease is much simpler, meaning your pet is under anesthesia for less time. If dental disease is prevented, rather than treated, you can save your pet from severe pain and infection by halting the spread of bacteria to the jaw bone, periodontal ligament, heart, liver, and kidneys. Do your pet and your wallet a favor with routine preventive dental care, rather than waiting until she is painful and facing multiple extractions.
#5: Schedule regular dental-wellness exams for your pet
While we examine your pet’s mouth at every routine wellness visit, occasionally she may need a special dental-wellness exam. Toy- and small-breed dogs are prone to developing dental disease more rapidly than larger breeds, while cats can fall victim to painful resorptive lesions. Without routine dental exams, your pet may suffer silently until her next wellness visit.
#6: Don’t skip the dental X-rays on your pet
Every pet deserves full-mouth dental X-rays to detect hidden problems lurking beneath the gum tissue. As much as 60% of each tooth lies under the gums, making it difficult to locate issues without dental X-rays, which can help us find retained root fragments, bone loss, infection pockets, retained teeth, abscesses, and other periodontal issues that need prompt treatment.
#7: Enlist the aid of the Riverbend Veterinary PetCare Hospital team to clean your pet’s teeth
We know you do everything you can to care for your beloved companion but, sometimes, you need professional backup. Our team is highly trained and skilled in performing dental procedures, from cleanings to extractions. You may brush your pet’s teeth as often as twice per day, but a toothbrush can’t clean under the gums like we can with our dental instruments and the aid of anesthesia. During your pet’s dental-wellness exam, we can discuss how frequently she may need dental cleanings, and other steps you can take to keep her mouth healthy.
Are you ready to restore your pet’s teeth to a pearly white? Give our hospital a call to schedule a dental cleaning with our team.