According to veterinary research, 80 per cent of dogs and 70 per cent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they are three years old. These include: persistent bad breath, a yellow-brown tartar crust at the gum line, red and swollen gums, pawing at the mouth and face, bleeding, sensitivity to touch, changes in eating and chewing habits and depression (listlessness).
Left untreated, pet oral disease causes significant pain through tooth decay and gum infection, and can pass damaging and even life-threatening bacteria through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys, sometimes causing early death.
Periodontal disease is entirely preventable. Our pet’s mouth is the perfect incubator for bacteria and dental disease begins when these bacteria form plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. When mixed with saliva, this hardens and becomes dental calculus or tartar visible to the naked eye.
However the real problem develops as plaque and tartar spread under the gum line. Bacteria in the plaque release toxins into your pet’s bloodstream requiring the kidneys, liver and brain to filter this blood creating small infections which can cause permanent and sometimes fatal organ damage.
So what do you look for? Check for stinky breath, one of the earliest signs of dental disease. Then look for red or swollen gums, yellowing or brown teeth and any loose or missing teeth.
Preventative dental care is best for keeping your pet healthy and happy. Regular daily brushing of your pet’s teeth, the correct diet combined with an annual check-up with your vet plus professional dental cleaning will keep your pet’s mouth in peak condition.