With February here, it marks the Dental Health Awareness month for us AND our furry loved ones!
The staff and Oronoque Animal Hospital believe it is important to keep our pet's teeth shining white and healthy all year long! We are going to be offering 10%* on any dental procedure made during the month so we can keep our patients smiling and happy!
Check out some helpful guidelines for dental care and how you can beat that tartar and plaque before it starts!
Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked areas in pet health.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that takes hold in progressive stages.
How it starts and progresses:
Periodontal disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attaches to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and to bleed easily. As plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth.
In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth in erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they start with proper dental care.
AAHA recommends that veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to deciduous (baby) teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, swelling, and oral development. As pets age, your veterinarian will examine your pet for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors. The veterinarian can perform a basic oral examination while pets are awake. However, short-lasting anesthetic is required for a more complete examination.
Guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings under general anesthesia with full intubation for all adult dogs and cats. All AAHA-accredited hospitals provide professional veterinary cleanings complete with general anesthesia and intubation. Read more from the American Veterinary Dental College about why anesthesia and intubation are the only veterinary dental cleanings considered to be professional dental cleanings.
Other guideline recommendations:
Home dental care:
Pet owners also play an important role in their animals’ oral health. Regular teeth brushing at home coupled with regular dental check-ups can help your pet live a longer, healthier life.
Q.Is there a physical sign that my pet has a dental problem?
A. Pets’ breath isn’t normally great smelling, but if it becomes particularly offensive, it could be a sign of a serious oral problem. Other signs include excessive drooling, loose teeth, tumors on the gums, and cysts beneath the tongue.
Q.What’s the best way to brush a dog’s teeth?
A. Use a brush or wrap your finger in gauze and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Using small, circular motions, work in one area of the dog’s mouth at a time. Be sure to lift the dog’s lip if necessary to reach the teeth. Since the most tartar builds up on the tooth surfaces that touch the cheek, concentrate there and finish up with a downward stroke on the teeth to remove tartar. Your dog may not let you clean the backside of its teeth, but don’t worry about it because very little tartar builds up there.
Q.Is there anything else I can do to help my dog’s oral health?
A. Provide chew toys that help massage your pet’s gums and keep their teeth clean. Ask your veterinarian to recommend toxin-free chew toys. An added benefit of chew toys is their ability to reduce your dog’s stress level, eliminate boredom, and give pets an outlet for their desire to chew.
*Restrictions May Apply
(Information provided by AAHA)