The Far-Reaching and Powerful Impact of Pet Dental Care 

A cat brushing its own teeth

Everything in life revolves around one simple principle: cause and effect. We eat too much, we gain weight. We drive too fast, we get pulled over. 

The same fundamental truth can be applied to pet ownership. If we don’t give them enough opportunities to exercise, they chew up our slippers or claw the armchair. Likewise, if their teeth and gums aren’t tended to, they develop gingivitis and, eventually, periodontal disease. When pet dental care is ignored, the long-term consequences to overall health and wellbeing can be shocking.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Pet

Doggie breath or tuna mouth are commonly dismissed as something that just comes with the territory of pet ownership. The truth is, bad breath is usually the first sign of dental disease.

Luckily, the link between dental health and longevity can be strengthened by routine attention and care.

The Root of the Problem

If a pet’s oral health is ignored, periodontal disease can develop over time. This irreversible disease is classified into the following progressing stages:

Stage 1 – Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is caused by the buildup of tartar and bacteria. Swelling of the gums is evident, as well as a thin red line on the gums next to the teeth.

Stage 2 – Inflammation of the gums, bad breath, and visible plaque and tartar.  Plus, with digital dental radiography, we can see about 25% bone loss surrounding the roots. A professional cleaning under anesthesia will remove plaque and tartar and limit the progression of the disease.

Stage 3 – At this stage, bone loss around the tooth roots has progressed to 25-50%.  Bleeding gums, loose teeth, deep pockets between the gums and teeth can be present.  Painful infections can occur during this stage. Broken and diseased teeth must be removed for the patients’ comfort.

Stage 4 – Over 50% bone loss is seen on x-rays in this stage, resulting in extreme pain and tooth loss. Oral bacteria can seep into the bloodstream and enter the vital organs. The patient has severe discomfort at this point, and it is imperative that oral surgery be performed to improve the pet’s quality of life.

The Eye on the Prize

There are many aspects of your pet’s health that we pay attention to during their twice yearly wellness exams, and the opportunity to peek inside their mouth is one of our primary interests. We look for any accumulation of tartar, gingivitis, and loose or broken teeth. 

Beneath the Surface

However, it is precisely what we cannot see with the naked eye that causes concern. A large percentage of each tooth is concealed by gum tissue. Digital x-rays allow us to see beneath the gum tissue and assess the true dental health. Without x-rays, we wouldn’t know the extent of disease to the teeth.

Quick & Clear

Based on what we learn from a thorough oral exam and x-rays, we can properly diagnose and treat a pet’s mouth to ensure they have lasting oral health. Without a proactive approach to pet dental care, an animal’s lifespan may be shortened, and quality of life diminished. 

In addition to professional veterinary care, dental care at home is exceedingly beneficial.

Pet Dental Care For Life

If you have further questions about the connection between pet dental care and their overall health, please let us know. Our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you at Berkeley Veterinary Center

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