Periodontal disease (disease of the teeth and associated structures) is a common problem in veterinary practice. Owners are often unaware that their animals have dental problems, until signs such as bad breath, drooling and difficulty eating become apparent – by which time dental disease may be advanced.
The most common trigger for dental disease is accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth, causing the trapping of bacteria and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Early removal of plaque and tartar is advisable to prevent disease progression
The best way to help prevent your pet from developing dental disease is to maintain good oral hygiene. The most effective way of doing this is daily brushing. There are many toothpastes and gels available for animals – never use human toothpastes as these may cause problems if swallowed.
A few more tips for maintaining a healthy mouth:
- Dry food is better for your animal’s teeth.
- Feeding things like dental chews and carrots can help scrape off plaque.
- If your pet will not tolerate brushing, a small amount of enzymatic toothpaste/gel in the mouth can still help.
In advanced cases of dental disease your vet may suggest your dog/cat is booked in for a descale and polish under general anaesthesia, and it will be established if any tooth extractions is needed.