Periodontal Disease and Your Dog

Dental disease can be found in 85% of pets over the age of 3. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease and if left untreated can cause tooth loss and cause damage to all the major organs, heart, liver, kidney and brain. Untreated dental disease can shorten your pet’s life span by 3 years.

So what is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease begins with plaque build up on the surface of your dog’s tooth. Just like in humans, the plaque starts as a biofilm of bacteria mixed with food particles and saliva. If this film is not removed, it eventually layers into what is known as tartar.

The tartar begins to mineralize and the bacteria begin to infect the gum causing gingivitis. As the tartar continues to build up, it works it’s way beneath the gum causing the gum line to recede. Eventually, the infection continues to spread and will loosen the attachment of the tooth and tooth loss will occur.

Besides the tooth loss, the gum infection also begins to shower the dog’s blood stream with tiny bits of bacteria. These bacteria will begin to settle in all the major organs, especially the mitral valve of the heart and in the kidneys. This can lead to congestive heart failure and kidney failure and ultimately the untimely death of your pet.

So what can I do to prevent dental disease?

Start with getting your pet used to having his teeth brushed at an early age. Just like in humans, plaque replaces itself every 12 hours, so optimally, your pet’s teeth should be brushed twice a day. Do not use human toothpaste, the fluoride could be swallowed by your pet and cause toxicity. Use toothpaste that is designed and flavored just for pets. I know that brushing your pet’s teeth is hard to do, but brushing really helps keep their mouth healthy.

Also available are special diets such as Hill’s t/d to mechanically remove the tartar and keep the pet’s teeth clean. There are also enzymatically treated chews, such as greenies and C.E.T. chews that can help remove the plaque and tartar.

There are also dental oral rinses and Breathalyser water additives to help with oral hygiene.

Once tartar is formed on your pet’s teeth, your veterinarian will need to scale and polish your pet’s teeth under anesthesia to remove the tartar that is beneath the gum line. Once removed, it is up to you to practice good dental care with your pet with daily brushing and other dental products to keep the mouth healthy.

Dental Disease

For many people, dealing with their pet’s bad breath is just part of pet ownership. But, unfortunately, dogs with dental disease are at a higher risk for heart disease. How can you help to make sure your pet is not one of those destined to be on heart medication?

Most of us understand the importance of good oral health for ourselves and visit our dentist at least twice a year. But only a small percentage of people would do the same thing for their pets. Studies in human dentistry and medicine have shown that there appears to be an association between heart disease and dental disease. Is this true for our pets as well?

In a recent nationwide veterinary study, more than 45,000 cases of dogs with serious dental disease were reviewed. These dogs were compared with another 45,000 dogs of similar gender, age, and breed that did not have any dental disease. Their report shows that there appears to be a strong association between the health of your pet’s mouth and the incidence of other health issues, such as heart murmurs or even infection of the lining of the heart.

Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. A recent American Animal Hospital Association report on compliance within veterinary practices showed than less that 35% of pets who need a dental cleaning ever receive one. The reasons for this level of non-compliance are many, but often, pet owners will report that they just didn’t know their pets needed dental work or even that their pets suffered from periodontal disease.

Just as with people, periodontal disease in our pets starts the same way. It begins when food particles, saliva, and bacteria attached to the teeth produce a filmy matrix called “plaque”. If this matrix is not disrupted, “calculus” forms. More commonly known as tartar, the calculus makes the surface of the tooth rough and provides a better hold for more bacteria and helps to protect the bacteria from being dislodged. These bacteria will then infect the gums, causing a condition known as gingivitis. If not treated appropriately, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease, destroying the bone that supports the tooth. It’s hard to believe, but there may even be an association between dirty teeth and other serious diseases. The same bacteria that cause dental disease have been found in the hearts of dogs with heart disease.

To help prevent dental problems from becoming a serious health issue, veterinarians recommend that oral health care start early. Your new puppy or kitten should become comfortable with you examining its mouth. Early training will help the pet to learn to tolerate brushing and other preventive measures and will help you recognize abnormalities. Simple awareness of the health of your pet’s mouth can help you to provide better health care for your pet. As your pet ages, a weekly check of the mouth may also help to find issues before they become dangerous. You should take time to look for plaque and tartar, especially on the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth and the big shearing teeth in the back of the mouth. Other potential areas of concern include fractured teeth, gum tissue that is overgrown or does not appear to be a healthy pink color, bleeding from the gums or any ulceration in the mouth. In addition to using your eyes, your nose can be an important tool as well. Pets are not supposed to have bad breath! If you can detect any foul odor, or if you see any problems in your pet’s mouth, your pet should be seen by your family veterinarian.

There is a great advancement you should know about. After you have done your weekly exam, you can further help to protect your pet by using a barrier sealant called OraVetTM. This product has helped to revolutionize at home dental care for pets. In less than one minute per week, your pet’s teeth can be protected and the effects of plaque and calculus can be minimized. By adhering to the surface of the teeth, OraVetTM gel actually helps to repel plaque causing bacteria. Without plaque formation, dental disease is much less likely to begin or get worse. For optimal results, see your veterinarian to have your pet’s teeth cleaned, followed by an initial application of OraVetTM applied after the dentistry. You then simply continue weekly applications with a home care kit.

You are an important part of the fight against dental disease. Working with your veterinarian, you can learn to identify potential problems earlier and help your pet lead a, healthier life. For more information on veterinary dentistry, visit www.oravet.com.

Advances in Pet Dentistry

Doggy Kiss

For many people, dealing with their pet’s bad breath is just part of pet ownership. But, unfortunately, dogs with dental disease are at a higher risk for heart disease. How can you help to make sure your pet is not one of those destined to be on heart medication?

Most of us understand the importance of good oral health for ourselves and visit our dentist at least twice a year. But only a small percentage of people would do the same thing for their pets. Studies in human dentistry and medicine have shown that there appears to be an association between heart disease and dental disease. Is this true for our pets as well?

In a recent nationwide veterinary study, more than 45,000 cases of dogs with serious dental disease were reviewed. These dogs were compared with another 45,000 dogs of similar gender, age, and breed that did not have any dental disease. Their report shows that there appears to be a strong association between the health of your pet’s mouth and the incidence of other health issues, such as heart murmurs or even infection of the lining of the heart.

Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. A recent American Animal Hospital Association report on compliance within veterinary practices showed than less that 35% of pets who need a dental cleaning ever receive one. The reasons for this level of non-compliance are many, but often, pet owners will report that they just didn’t know their pets needed dental work or even that their pets suffered from periodontal disease.

Just as with people, periodontal disease in our pets starts the same way. It begins when food particles, saliva, and bacteria attached to the teeth produce a filmy matrix called “plaque”. If this matrix is not disrupted, “calculus” forms. More commonly known as tartar, the calculus makes the surface of the tooth rough and provides a better hold for more bacteria and helps to protect the bacteria from being dislodged. These bacteria will then infect the gums, causing a condition known as gingivitis. If not treated appropriately, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease, destroying the bone that supports the tooth. It’s hard to believe, but there may even be an association between dirty teeth and other serious diseases. The same bacteria that cause dental disease have been found in the hearts of dogs with heart disease.

To help prevent dental problems from becoming a serious health issue, veterinarians recommend that oral health care start early. Your new puppy or kitten should become comfortable with you examining its mouth. Early training will help the pet to learn to tolerate brushing and other preventive measures and will help you recognize abnormalities. Simple awareness of the health of your pet’s mouth can help you to provide better health care for your pet. As your pet ages, a weekly check of the mouth may also help to find issues before they become dangerous. You should take time to look for plaque and tartar, especially on the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth and the big shearing teeth in the back of the mouth. Other potential areas of concern include fractured teeth, gum tissue that is overgrown or does not appear to be a healthy pink color, bleeding from the gums or any ulceration in the mouth. In addition to using your eyes, your nose can be an important tool as well. Pets are not supposed to have bad breath! If you can detect any foul odor, or if you see any problems in your pet’s mouth, your pet should be seen by your family veterinarian.

There is a great advancement you should know about. After you have done your weekly exam, you can further help to protect your pet by using a barrier sealant called OraVetTM. This product has helped to revolutionize at home dental care for pets. In less than one minute per week, your pet’s teeth can be protected and the effects of plaque and calculus can be minimized. By adhering to the surface of the teeth, OraVetTM gel actually helps to repel plaque causing bacteria. Without plaque formation, dental disease is much less likely to begin or get worse. For optimal results, see your veterinarian to have your pet’s teeth cleaned, followed by an initial application of OraVetTM applied after the dentistry. You then simply continue weekly applications with a home care kit.

You are an important part of the fight against dental disease. Working with your veterinarian, you can learn to identify potential problems earlier and help your pet lead a, healthier life.