Dental disease is one of the biggest disease problems in cats and dogs. 95% of pet cats and dogs will suffer some form of dental disease in their lifetime.
As your pet eats, food particles will naturally accumulate on and in-between the tooth’s surfaces. Bacteria in the mouth digest these particles to form plaque. As this plaque builds up, dental disease starts.
Once enough plaque builds up, the bacteria cause inflammation of the gums known as “gingivitis”. The plaque then hardens to form “tartar”, which in a way holds the infection to the tooth surface and helps push bacteria and debris under the gum line. Periodontal disease is the most advanced form of dental disease that ultimately results in the loss of the affected teeth.
Pets with gum disease usually have smelly breath and the teeth generally look bad, but it is the damage that you don’t see that can be the most serious. The gum tissue has an extensive blood supply and when periodontal infection starts, it is possible for these bacteria to get into your pet’s circulation and eventually lead to heart, liver, kidney, and bone and joint disease, including organ failure.
So, if your cat or dog has bad breath, drooling, pawing at his mouth or frequent licking his lips this may be the first signs of dental disease. You may also notice, redness of the gums with possible bleeding or obvious tartar buildup.
There are a number of excellent dental diets on the market including:
all of which are stocked in clinic and online at Newstead Vets.