Similar to your own teeth, normal eating activities will result in plaque and tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth. If left for a long period of time, tarter will continue to build-up on the surfaces of the teeth and can physically grow into the gingiva (gums) causing inflammation and pain. The real problem begins when the associated bacteria proliferate, produce toxins, and begin to destroy normal gingival structures inciting even more inflammation and pain. In some cases, this inflammation can cause bone loss which leads to loose teeth and necessary extractions. In fact, it is common that bacteria can be absorbed into the blood supply within the gingiva. In severe cases, this can cause systemic disease, including infections in the heart, liver and/or kidneys.
Key signs of dental disease that you may notice include discoloration on your pet’s teeth, redness of the gums, drooling, and/or bad breath. In addition, your pet may experience discomfort or difficulty chewing and eating and may even lose teeth. Routine home care through the form of brushing, chewing devices that help your pet brush their own teeth and/or special treats or diets are necessary to reduce this build-up. In many cases, a yearly dental cleaning by your veterinarian is necessary to remove all the plaque and tartar build-up, reduce inflammation and pain, and thus help provide the best health for your pet. Furthermore, annual dental cleaning has the added benefit of getting rid of “doggie” breath. February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Please contact your veterinarian for more information and the importance of your pet’s dental health.
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