Oral health is a vitally important, but sometimes neglected, part of an animal's overall health.
According to the Australian and Americal Veterinary Dental Societies, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease (peridontal disease) by the age of 3 years. Problems usually start with an invisible film called plaque covering the teeth. Over time, if not removed, plaque mineralises and hardens to form visible tartar. Plaque and tartar contain bacteria and toxins that can spread via the blood to other parts of the body causing infections in distant organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.
If plaque and tartar are not removed, the gum adjacent to the teeth becomes red and painful (ie: gingivitis occurs). As this inflammation progresses, and peridontal (gum) disease develops the gums and other tissue and bone that supports the teeth are damaged and destroyed, resulting in additional pain, tooth mobility and tooth loss.
Common signs of gum disease include:
a build-up of visible yellow, brown or grey tartar on teeth
dropping food when eating
chewing on one side only or reluctance to chew food at all
loose teeth / tooth loss
Peridontal or gum disease is the most common disease seen in dogs and cats. It is more common than any other disease including those of the skin, eyes, ears or heart. In fact, it can often go undetected and untreated for years, despite the pain and discomfort it causes.
Regular routine veterinary dental check-ups are an important means of indentifying dental disease so that it can be dealt with, and further pain and tooth loss prevented. Your vet will also advise you on ongoing preventative dental care, so that gum disease and its serious consequences can be avoided.
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