A Serious Illness Dogs May Get from Dirty Teeth
03/11/2011

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs.  And it's very serious. Neglected dental hygiene can cause infected and painful gums as well as periodontal disease.



Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in small animals. Signs of periodontal disease are often not recognized, however, and some pets continue to suffer until all of their teeth have become infected. 





Preventive dental care is one of the most neglected pet health needs. Yet it's just as important for pets as it is for people. Here's what you need to know.



What is Periodontal Disease? 

When food remains on the teeth it forms plaque, which continuously builds on the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens and becomes what we call calculus. Periodontal disease, called gingivitis in its early stages, is caused by a buildup of plaque and calculus below the gum line. According to Angell Memorial Dental Technician Jennifer Robinson, 85 percent of dogs and cats over the age of two have some form of periodontal disease. This painful and progressive gum disease causes inflammation and leads to tooth loss. It can also lead to other serious problems like blocked arteries, heart disease and kidney problems.





Warning signs include:




  • Bad breath

  • Loose teeth

  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

  • Chattering

  • Drooling

  • Lack of appetite

  • Bleeding gums




Periodontal disease is painful. Animals cannot brush their own teeth or tell us when they feel pain, so it is up to us to take responsibility for their dental care. If you think your pet may have periodontal disease, schedule an appointment to have your veterinarian perform an oral exam and possibly a good cleaning.



You can also brush your dog's teeth, and you really SHOULD be doing this on a regular basis. Brushing your dog's teeth at least 3 times a week helps to remove tartar and plaque. It will also help get rid of "doggy breath".


Our PetPlace.com veterinary team recommends the Kissable Toothbrush to help keep your dog's mouth clean and healthy. The innovative 3-sided design of this toothbrush cleans all 3 sides of the teeth at once, so it's quick and easy. And brushing your dog's teeth could add as much as 5 years to his life!  Find out more. Go to: www.petproductadvisor.com/Kissable.


 

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