Have you ever had your pet pant or yawn by you and notice a bad breath smell? Hmmm, did his/her breath always smell like that??
Have you noticed that your pet is grumpier than he used to be? Maybe you contributed it to aging?
Does your pet shy away from you when you pet their face or try to look in their mouth? Maybe even run and hide from you?
Is your pet a messy eater? Dropping kibble or shaking their head while they eat?
A yes to any of these above questions may mean that your pet is showing you signs of dental disease. The AVMA says that 70-80% of cats and dogs have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age! Does this shock you? This article will help you understand what type of abnormalities pets can have with their teeth, and what you/we can do to prevent this from worsening.
What is dental/periodontal disease?
- Dental disease refers to any abnormalities to the teeth or gingival tissue (gums). Periodontal disease refers to the specific type of dental disease where bacteria attack where the gums attach to the teeth. The level of periodontal disease can vary greatly from stage one to stage four. Compare your pets teeth to this chart!
Periodontal disease is the most common type of dental disease that cats and dogs will develop. Unlike people, who commonly have enamel disease, like cavities. The bacteria in periodontal disease eat away at the healthy gums and even the bone beneath the gumline! This will expose the root, and the root is soft and cannot keep bacteria out. The bacteria can then get inside the tooth and begin to cause pain. If the bone is damaged, then the tooth becomes loose!
Early periodontal disease is reversible with a good cleaning and polish by your veterinarian. Your pet will need to be under anesthesia for this since they won’t tolerate a cleaning like you would!
Later stages of periodontal disease can require treatments, which is often extraction of the teeth! Routine dental care can help your pet keep all of their teeth!