Dental Disease is very common in cats and dogs. Surveys show that after the age of 3years, about 7/10 pets have some kind of tooth disorder; if left unattended these may cause irreversible damage to the dog's teeth, gums and jaw bone.
Dental Disease can be prevented by stopping the build up of plaque; the tartar hidden below the gum line is the main cause of problems, it contains bacteria which will attack the surrounding gum tissue causing painful inflammation (‘gingivitis') and infection can track down to the tooth roots. Pus may build up in the roots and form a painful abscess, this inflammation wears away tissue from the gum, bones and teeth and, as the disease becomes more advanced, the teeth will loosen and fall out. Bacteria and the poisons they produce can also get into the blood stream and cause damage throughout the body in organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.
What Can We Do To Look After Our Pet's Teeth?
Any dental treatment needs to be done every single day, this is because plaque turns into tartar after 2 days, and only a descale and polish will remove a tartar build-up.
The very best way to look after your pet’s teeth is to brush them. No other method comes a close second to how effective brushing can be. Ideally your pet should get used to having its teeth cleaned from an early age. This can be done by introducing special pet toothpaste on your finger to your pet so they can get used to the taste. Then rub the toothpaste along their teeth with your finger. Once they can accept this, move onto doing this with a toothbrush making sure to get right to the back molar teeth which are prone to heavy plaque build-up. This process should be done little and often and built up so your pet can accept it with more success.
If brushing is not possible with your pet there are some other methods which may help or can be used in conjunction with brushing:
- Feeding a dry food can reduce plaque build-up on the teeth, more than wet food diets. There are special or prescription dental diets available that contain horizontal fibres that brush up against the tooth working against plaque build-up.
- There are a number of dental chews available on the market, but please be careful to reduce your pet’s daily food ration to allow for these as they are high in calories. These need to be given every day to obtain results.
- PlaqueOff is a patented natural feed supplement containing only specially selected seaweed. When used daily, it is clinically proven to significantly reduce bad breath, plaque and tartar.
- Vet Aquadent is a refreshing and palatable solution that is added to your pet's drinking water. It contains chlorhexidine, an effective anti-plaque agent and Xylitol which limits build-up of dental plaque and tartar.
When an animal undergoes Dental Surgery, they must have a general anaesthetic to protect their airway and allow for the procedure to be done. It is best to prevent repeated unnecessary anaesthetics on both your pet's health and on your wallets.
Insurance Companies do not cover routine dental surgery as it is a preventable condition.
Our nursing team at our hospital in Laurencekirk offer FREE Dental Checks. If you would like to book your pet in please contact us on 01561 377314.