Over 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years old have dental disease. The most common sign is bad breath. However, periodontal disease, or dental disease, can be far advanced by the time owners notice bad breath.
Periodontal disease begins with the formation of plaque that coats the teeth and gums. This plaque contains bacteria and debris. If plaque is not removed, hard dental tartar forms. The tartar causes irritation of the gums and periodontal tissues. For example, bacteria can grow around the tartar and under the edge of the gums, gradually dissolving the structures that support the teeth. Eventually, deeper and deeper pockets can form around the teeth, creating dental pain, root exposure, and pockets where abscesses may form.
Your veterinarian can usually detect periodontal disease during a routine physical examination. He or she might recommend a thorough dental cleaning. The cleaning is done under anesthesia so that the teeth can be thoroughly examined, cleaned and polished.
The best way to stay on top of your dog’s dental health is at home dental care. Catoctin Veterinary Clinic sells a number of products that can aid in the overall dental health of your pet. These products include toothbrush kits, dental chews, oral rinse, water additives, dental sprays, and dental powder. If your pet has bad breath, seems reluctant to chew, has swollen gums, or seems in pain, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
Before and after photos below.