As Veterinary Dental Month, February nears I wanted to review some the options for our pets with dental disease. Dental disease (AKA Periodontal Disease) is the process of bacteria in the mouth causing tartar buildup, gum infection (gingivitis), significant tooth damage and oral pain. Dental disease is a constant infection that can also lead to overall organ damage the shortening of your pet’s comfortable life. Common signs may include stinky breath, tartar on the teeth, swelling of the jaw or nose, lose or darkened teeth.
So now what? If your pet’s mouth may have hints of disease here are some of your options.
- Start with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian grades dental disease on a scale of 0-4. A grade of 0 is a pristine mouth with no signs of disease up to a 4, where teeth are loose, damaged and gums are infected. The grade of the disease can help determine what treatment plan is best for your pet.
- Choose products with science. There are a lot of options out there that aid in the reduction of dental disease such as water additives chew treats, oral gels, and toothpaste. Ask your veterinarian which products are proven to work and which ones will be best for your pet.
- When prevention is not enough, schedule your pet for a dental cleaning. Proper dental cleaning procedures are done under anesthesia to make sure your pet is comfortable and their teeth are examined, charted and cared for properly. Regular dental cleanings (tailored for your pet) can prevent unnecessary pain and tooth extractions later in life, as well as, other organ damage stemming from dental disease.
- Start early or now! As the adage goes, prevention really is the best medicine. Proper pet dental care, as recommended by your veterinarian, from the beginning can keep dental cleaning procedures at bay and extend the happy, and healthy, the life of your pet!