Periodontal Disease and the Connection to Other Conditions

With periodontal (dental) disease, your pet can develop a build-up of plaque on and around the teeth. Not only can it cause discomfort and pain for your pet, but can result in bad breath, inflamed swollen gums, exposed tooth roots, loose or broken teeth and weight loss (due to a refusal to eat).

Health Problems Caused by Periodontal Disease

Research has shown that periodontal disease may be linked to other chronic and systemic health problems in the rest of the body, including heart and kidney disease. Periodontal disease has been associated with pathologic changes in the kidneys, liver and heart muscle, according to the Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge Team.

It has been shown that bacteria showers the vascular system periodically from infected, inflamed periodontal tissues. Theoretically, the body’s defenses remove these bacteria before they can cause distant infection. However, in some cases, bacteria can lodge in remote sites such as on diseased heart valves, in kidney or liver tissue or even bones and joints and cause significant disease.

Periodontal Disease Among Diabetic Pets

In regard to diabetes, there is evidence that pets with diabetes have greater prevalence of periodontal disease and that the severity of periodontal disease in diabetic pets is directly related to the quality of the glycemic control in these pets.

Early detection and prevention of dental disease starts with:

  • An oral exam every 6 months
  • Brushing your pet’s teeth at home
  • Providing dental chews to help maintain the health of your pet’s teeth

Your veterinarian can advise you on how often you should brush your pet’s teeth and how to choose an appropriate dental chew toy or treat.