Dr. Watt reports the facts about animal dental health for February is National Pet Dental Health Month. There are a lot of similarities between human dental health and pet dental health. When is the last time you brushed your teeth? What about your pet’s teeth? Learn how to check your pets teeth and gums to see if it is time for a cleaning below.
For over two decades, veterinarians around the country have been using this month as an extra opportunity to educate pet owners about the importance of dental health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Is your pet one of them?
To find out, lift up your pet’s lip and look at her teeth and gums. If the teeth are perfectly white, the gums are an even light pink, and the breath is fresh, your pet probably has good oral health. If not, you should ask your veterinarian if it’s time for a cleaning.
In veterinary patients we also see links between periodontal disease and damage to the kidneys and liver. In dogs and cats with gum inflammation, showers of bacteria frequently jet through the blood stream. The average patient will have a positive blood culture every 10 days. These bacterial showers have been definitively linked to reduced life span. Regular dental care may add anywhere from two to five years to the life of your family pet!In clinical practice, I see pets without regular dental care getting “old” at much younger ages than in other pets. Owners just convince themselves that their 12-year-old old cat’s kidney failure is just a product of age or nature. In reality, many of these pets could have lived longer, happier lives with regular dental care.
Part of your pet’s six-month wellness visit should include a thorough oral examination. At the first sign of gum inflammation or other oral disease, you should schedule a dental cleaning. Using light anesthesia, your veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician will remove the tarter accumulation, evaluate the depth of gum pockets, examine the tooth surfaces for damage or decay, polish the enamel and apply fluoride to strengthen the teeth.
Make your pet’s dental health a priority with a visit to Gresham Animal Hospital. Learn more our pet dental care services.
SRC: Dr. Watts full report is available at: www.dailyprogress.com/starexponent/entertainment_life/february-is-national-pet-dental-health-month/article_1f8b67f0-aacb-11e4-8157-0b9a732d3ed1.html