Reduce Your Pet's Risk of Disease
We visit our dentist for a professional cleaning at least twice yearly in order to reduce our risk for dental disease. Your pet also needs to receive a dental check-up and professional dental cleanings to reduce their risk for dental disease, especially since they cannot brush their teeth daily as we can. The Banfield Applied Research & Knowledge (BARK) team has found that dental disease affects at least one in five dogs and cats in the United States!
Dogs With Dental Disease
As dogs get older, their risk of dental disease increases, and the BARK team found that dogs with dental disease may be more likely to develop heart disease. The risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular-related conditions increases as dental disease worsens, so regular dental cleanings can not only help reduce bad breath, tooth decay, tooth bone loss, but also may reduce your dog’s risk of heart disease.
Cats With Dental Disease
If you have a cat with dental disease, the BARK team found that you may be spending more on your cat’s total medical bills in general. Along with professional cleanings and tooth brushings at home (e.g., at least two or three times a week), good dental healthcare can include specially formulated dental diets and treats that help reduce gingivitis and dental plaque build-up.
Health Issues from Poor Dental Hygiene
Bacteria grow as plaque forms on the teeth. Residual food and tartar that collect in the spaces between gums and teeth make it easier for bacteria to grow. Infection can spread into the bone and supporting tissue, causing tooth decay and bone loss which can lead to loose teeth even fractures of the jaw. It is thought that this bacteria can become attached to the heart valves and cause inflammation of the inside linint of the heart chambers and heart valves—a disease called endocarditis.
Caring for Your Dog or Cat's Teeth
For optimum dental health, schedule cleanings and thorough exams before any significant signs of disease are present. Bad breath is usually the most noticeable sign, but others can be hard to spot such as pain and/or receding gums. If you notice any of the following signs with your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately: difficulty in chewing, lack of an appetite, increased salivation and/or changes in food preferences.
You pet may be at risk for dental disease and so it is recommended that your pet receives a professional dental cleaning at least once a year. If your pet will let you brush his/her teeth, regular brushing should begin as soon as your pet has all his/her adult teeth and professional dental cleanings should begin as early as young adulthood. For a professional cleaning, contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital.