Prevention Starts with a Visit to Your Veterinarian
In addition to giving your pet a thorough physical examination and taking a complete medical history, your veterinarian will examine your pet's teeth and gums and may recommend cleaning and polishing.
Continue Your Pet's Dental Care at Home
Plaque should be removed every day. You should use a special toothbrush and toothpaste designed for pets. Human toothbrushes are not designed to fit in your pet's mouth and toothpaste for people may cause upset stomach. Consult your veterinarian about the procedures for brushing. Training your pet for this procedure may take several days or even weeks.
In addition, you can feed some pets a specially formulated dietary pet food designed to help provide dental benefits. This specially formulated dietary food can help reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar from teeth while your pet is eating. Your veterinarian can discuss this pet food with you.
Return for Regular Dental Checkups
Your veterinarian needs to monitor the progress of your pet's preventive program, so regular dental checkups are essential just as twice yearly checkups are for people. For pets that form plaque quickly or have a history of oral problems, frequent examinations and cleanings may be advised.
Before a Professional Cleaning
After a Professional Cleaning
Prevent Pain and Discomfort
Most of us understand that without daily attention to our teeth and gums and regular visits to the dentist, pain and serious problems could eventually result. Your pet needs dental care too- regular professional care from your veterinarian, as well as care at home from you.
Professional dental cleaning under anesthesia.
The Problems that May Lead to Tooth Loss
Plaque, a colorless film composed mostly of bacteria, forms continuously on teeth and gum. Plaque accumulation is the first step in a chain of events that can eventually result in mouth odor, inflammation, pain, infection, and tooth loss.
After mixing with food particles and minerals in saliva, some of the plaque hardens into a deposit called tartar. Unchecked, plaque builds up and can lead to inflamed gums, a condition called gingivitis. Pockets of infection may form around the roots of the tooth. In time, the bone and ligament that support the tooth are destroyed and the tooth is lost.
If You Can See the Signs, It May Be Too Late
All pets are at risk for developing these kinds of dental problems. Once your pet displays the warning signs - mouth odor; a yellow -brown crust of tartar around the gumline, pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when its mouth or gums are touched - serious periodontal disease may be present. But don't wait for these signs. Start a preventive program of veterinarian supervised dental care.