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Does my pet have dental problems?

August 5, 2016

Dental disease in our pets is extremely common. Research shows that by the age of two, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some sign of dental disease.

Dental disease is usually silent to being with. Initially there are no outward signs and symptoms, yet once it advances, gum disease can devastate your pet’s mouth causing chronic pain, eroded gums, missing teeth and bone loss. By the time we notice signs such as difficulty eating, a smelly mouth, or excessive salivation, the dental disease can often be very bad and significant treatment is needed.

Gum disease occurs five times more often in pets than in people. Our pets have a more alkaline mouth than humans, which promotes plaque formation. Also, most pets don’t normally have their teeth brushed every day, giving plaque-forming bacteria the chance they need to multiply. Smaller breeds are more susceptible due to having smaller mouths with big and sometimes crooked teeth.

  • Brushing teeth is the ultimate goal to prevent dental problems, but many pets don’t tolerate this unless started as a puppy or kitten.
  • Diet plays a big part in the onset of dental problems, with soft food increasing the likelihood of disease as it sticks to teeth. There are special dental diets that prevent plaque hardening to form tartar and are abrasive on the teeth to mechanically scratch the teeth.
  • There are additives for water that can help prevent plaque hardening to tartar.
  • Some chew toys and treats can offer help, but often don’t suffice in severe cases.
  • Often a veterinary dental scale and polish is recommended and is the best way to treat problems and give your pet a comfortable mouth again.