Dental care is one of the most forgotten areas of your pet’s health. The health of the mouth affects so many areas of your pet’s wellbeing. Most of our canine and feline patients have some level of dental disease. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about dental care.
First let’s talk about pain. if you have had a tooth ache you know what real pain is. I can take a lot of pain but a year ago when I had a tooth ache, the pain was nearly unbearable. I had only one tooth that was involved, imagine what it is like for dogs or cats that usually have multiple affected teeth. My only relief came from proper treatment from my dentist. Since your pets can’t pick up the phone and call your veterinarian they rely on you to do it for them.
Diseased teeth are a portal to the rest of the body. In the center of the tooth are nerves and blood vessels. They supply the teeth with nutrients, but they are also able to carry bacteria to other areas of the body. The heart, liver, lungs, kidney, and brain are the most commonly affected areas.
There are a number ways that you can improve the overall health of the teeth. First; brushing your pet’s teeth at least once a day is the most effective method to help improve your pet’s oral health. Brushing does require a training process that is most easily began when you pet is young, however you can “teach an old dog new tricks” so don’t hesitate to start training an older pet. Second; there are foods available that have been clinically proven to decease tartar build up. One of these is Hill’s Science Diet T/D. Its size is large enough that the pet must chew it, thereby acting as a sort of tooth brush. Additionally, it is lower in calcium than most other foods, providing less calcium for bacteria to use to create tartar.
All pets, at some point in their lives will need to have a professional dental prophylaxis. During the procedure a veterinary technician examines the mouth and teeth and removes the tartar above the gum line. A veterinarian then conducts an exam and removes the tartar below the gum line. At this time he or she will make decisions as to whether any of teeth need to be extracted or have further treatments.
Please make sure that you take your pet into your veterinarian for regular checkups at which time he or she will advise when your pet will need a dental cleaning. The standard of care in human dentistry is a dental cleaning and exam every six months, even after a regimen that incudes twice daily brushing with an ultrasonic tooth brush and a once daily flossing. Everything we can do in animal prophylaxis cannot approach this level of care, making it even more important to have regular exams and dental cleanings for your pet. Remember their health and wellbeing is in your hands.