What can I do to look after my pets teeth?

17 Oct 2018

Approximately seventy five percent of all cats and dogs over three years of age have dental disease.  Dental disease is caused by a buildup of plaque bacteria on the teeth.  Plaque bacteria and food debris on the teeth become mineralized by the saliva to from hard deposits on the teeth known as tartar or calculus.  This process leads to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) which eventually leads to peridontal disease (damage to the bone surrounding the tooth which causes tooth loosening and eventually tooth loss).

Common signs of dental disease include bad breath, pawing or rubbing the face, dribbling of saliva and reluctance to eat hard food or chews.  These signs often go unnoticed by owners.

Dental disease can be a source of chronic pain for your pet and can lead to nasty tooth root abscesses and tooth loss.  Bacteria from the mouth can also enter the bloodstream and travel to other sites in the body where they can cause further problems: for example kidneys, liver, heart.

Dental disease in its early stages (gingivitis) is completely reversible.  By scaling and polishing the teeth under general anaesthetic we remove the plaque and tartar which allows the gingivitis to resolve.  When dental disease becomes more advanced (peridontal disease) we often can't save affected teeth and they need to be extracted.

You play a big role in keeping your pets mouth in good shape.  Dry diets, especially diets specifically designed to help control plaque and tartar buildup like 'Hills' and 'Royal Canin' dental diets are very effective, as are chew bones.  Daily brushing of the teeth is even better.

MAXIGUARD® OraZn Gel is a great solution cats and small dogs which are not a fan of having their teeth brushed (most in our experience!).  Maxigard products are taste-free and odourless, and contain a neutralized zinc formulation which is anti-bacterial and reduces the anerobic bacteria responsible for plaque and bad breath.  It is very effective at maintaining oral health after professional cleaning.  The gel can also be used following normal a normal brushing routine.

If you are worried about your pet's teeth please book an appointment for a free dental check-up with Claire or Colin.  If you need advice as to how best to care for your pet's teeth at home please give us a call, or pop in for a chat.  We can even teach you how to brush your pet's teeth!

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