Having dirty, smelly teeth is nothing to smile about! February is National Pet Dental Month, which reminds us to clean our pet’s teeth and bring them in for dental services. Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by other health issues. So, your pet’s teeth should be cleaned at least once a year by your certified veterinarian to check for early signs of problems and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. If left untreated, plaque and tartar buildup can progress to painful inflammation and gum disease.
Imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brush them daily! The same thing happens to your pets. Plaque builds up and the bacteria can infect the gum tissue and even the roots of teeth, which will result in tooth loss. This doesn’t just affect your pet’s oral health. Bacteria can travel though the bloodstream from vessels near the gums. This puts other organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, in risk of also getting an infection, which can shorten the lives of our pets. Here are some symptoms of dental disease to look out for:
This is one of the first signs of dental disease. You should try to brush your pet’s teeth two to three times a week to prevent this from happening! Eventually your pet’s oral hygiene will become as standard as a brushing or grooming. But, if this problem persists make sure to visit your vet.
Lack of appetite or decreased eating
If you notice your pet hasn’t been eating as much, you should check to make sure there’s no inflammation or redness in their mouth. The bacteria in plaque cause our pet’s immune system to recognize it as foreign, which could lead to other health complications.
If your pet is experiencing pain when they eat, you may need to bring them to a vet immediately. They may need a tooth removed in order to be able to eat regularly again.
Swollen or red gums
This is caused by the buildup of bacteria latching onto gum tissue. If you regularly inspect your pet’s gums for signs of inflammation or redness, you can prevent them from getting gingivitis.
If your pet displays any of these symptoms, they may have a serious dental issue that should be handled immediately. But remember – most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where it’s harder to see. So, the best way to ensure that your pet doesn’t experience dental disease or dental problems is to prevent it!
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth at home is the most effective way to keep their teeth healthy between visits to the veterinarian. Daily brushing is recommended, but isn’t always plausible so brushing two to three times a week is effective as well. Brushing your pet’s teeth can go a long way. Some pet’s may resist brushing at first, but will eventually accept it, especially if you start a routine at a young age.
Malnutrition can affect your pet’s teeth and gums too. Buying the proper food is important for your pet’s overall health, but also very important for a healthy mouth. Speak with your veterinarian about suggestions of the best chow to feed your pet.
While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners all year round! Questions? Contact Central Bark today for more information.