One of the most common diagnosed problems with our pets is their teeth. In fact, one of my cats is at the vet right now getting a few teeth extracted and a cleaning. Dental disease, tartar, and other problems with their teeth occur at higher incidences than any other disease or disorder.
Dental care for pets wasn’t always well known and many of our pets have lived great lives, long lives, and didn’t seem to suffer from any major dental problems. However, as medical advances in pet medicine have improved, it’s been shown that dental problems can also be indicators of other problems. Also, just because we didn’t brush our pets’ teeth as kids or give them treats that were designed to help keep teeth clean, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it now.
The tartar that builds up on your pet’s teeth can cause other problems. It’s important to take care of the teeth because tartar can lead to periodontal disease. Tartar that ends up below the gum line where it can’t be seen can cause infections, rotting of the tooth, and pain.
The bad breath that we smell from our pet’s mouth isn’t the only problem of dirty teeth. The tartar and gingivitis build up can also lead to bone and jaw infections. When the bone is infected, it can begin to deteriorate and cause teeth to loosen and fall out. The bacteria in the mouth can also end up in the blood stream and spread to other parts of the body.
It’s been shown that dental disease that is left untreated can lead to problems such as liver and kidney infections, heart murmurs, diabetes, and other problems. Regular checkups, regular cleanings, and if you can, brushing your pet’s teeth can reduce these health risks as well as keep their breath smelling good and their teeth white and in great shape.
If you haven’t yet, make an appointment with your vet to have your pet’s teeth checked. Since it is Pet Dental Month, many places are offering specials and discounts for dental checkups. Check with your trusted vet to see if your pup or kitty needs a little extra TLC.