Have you ever forgot to brush your teeth? How about miss a dentist appointment? Of course we all have at some point or another. Now, for a moment, imagine what would happen if you forgot to brush your teeth for 5 years and had never seen a dentist – how long do you think you could keep that track record before you couldn’t eat? – about 10 years; and years 5-10 would be largely painful. Unfortunately, your pet is no different.
The challenge to most pet owners is their pets do not complain about their mouth pain and there is a common misconception that an animal somehow has a “natural” ability to maintain oral hygiene. This notion is simply false. We have domesticated our animals, more than doubling their natural life expectancy, which rocks. It also means we are seeing more and more issues that affect them as they age.
The health of your pet’s teeth and gums are incredibly important to us! There are several reasons for this:
- Just like in people, gingivitis (seen as a red line that forms above a tooth) – means bacteria is getting into your pets bloodstream. This bacteria causes wear and tear on their organs (especially heart, liver, and kidneys) and immune system. Also like people, this affects life expectancy.
- Rotten teeth hurt!!! Pets are amazingly stoic – which means they will not show signs of pain until pain levels reach extremes.
At Parkside – a long life free of pain is what we strive for with our patients.
How do you know your pet is in need of dentistry?
Each time your pet is examined (at minimum in their annual physical exam) your veterinarian will look at your pet’s teeth and determine if any sings of periodontal disease are present. If there is not – we aim to discuss ways to keep your pets mouth healthy.
There are three things that are clinically proven to help your pet’s mouth. These include teeth brushing, special diets and chewing. Caution must be taken with chewing – pet’s jaws are more than strong enough to fracture teeth on hard objects. The rule of thumb is if you can’t bend it in your hands – it is a risk.
If your veterinarian discovers there is periodontal disease present– the next step is to consider dental surgery to correct problems, relieve pain and eliminate gingivitis. Plus: Who wants to be kissed by a pet with bad breath!