Most people recognize the importance of oral health in humans, but the oral health of our furry friends too often gets overlooked. Dogs and cats have many of the same dental health problems as humans do if their dental health is neglected, with the most common dental health problem in dogs and cats being periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).
Signs of periodontal disease in dogs and cats tend to start showing up by age three. If actions aren’t taken to prevent the worsening of this disease, serious consequences can result. Not only can periodontal disease cause severe damage to the teeth and gums of your pet, the harmful bacteria from this disease can spread and cause damage to other parts of your pet’s body, including the heart, kidney, and liver.
Keep reading to learn more about oral health in pets and how to best care for your pet’s oral health.
Like humans, dogs and cats get plaque on their teeth, which over time hardens into tartar. When tartar gets under the gumline, it can get infected and damage the teeth and tissues.
A deep cleaning of your pet’s teeth can help treat periodontal disease. An x-ray is usually required to determine the severity of your pet’s condition. Talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned your pet might have periodontal disease.
Caring for your pet’s dental health is really pretty simple. The single most important action you can take to prevent the development of periodontal disease and other dental issues in your cat or dog is to brush their teeth! Brushing your furry friend’s teeth will remove plaque and tartar from their teeth, preventing harmful bacteria from infecting their gums, teeth, and tissue.
Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth can be an uphill battle at first, but with patience and training, your pet will benefit in the long run. It is ideal to brush your pet’s teeth every day, but as that’s not always practical, try to aim for two or three times per week. If you’re not sure about the proper technique for brushing your pet’s teeth, check out this video.
If regularly brushing your pet’s teeth becomes too challenging, talk to your vet about dental products, bones, and treats that can help keep your pet’s mouth clean.
Also, consult your vet to learn more about a dental-healthy diet for your dog. In general, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of “human food” your dog consumes, especially if it’s sugary or starchy.
Concerned about your own oral health? Schedule an examination with Dr. Liberman today! Proactive dental care is the best defense against cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your dental and overall health. To schedule an examination or learn more, contact us today!
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