It is estimated 85% of pets have some form of dental disease by age 3.
“Perio” means around, “dontal” means tooth: Periodontal disease is disease around the outside of the tooth. Of all the members of your family, chances are the PETS have the worst dental hygiene. And it is understandably so, they do not brush their teeth or floss for years. In fact, one look at your pet’s teeth and one sniff of your pet’s breath gives you an idea of what happens if teeth go for years without care.
The tooth enamel is bathed in saliva and quickly is covered by plaque (bacteria mixed with saliva). If a mouth is not regularly cleaned, the plaque builds up to form dental tartar/calculus. Tartar, a solid and gritty substance, blocks oxygen from bathing the outer tooth and thus changes the nature of the bacteria that can live around the tooth. The bacteria that can withstand the oxygen-poor environment (anaerobic bacteria) are more harmful to the bone and tissues of the gum. The periodontal ligament becomes damaged, the bone around the tooth is literally eaten away, and the gums become sensitive. Eventually the tooth is lost and, if the bone damage is severe enough, the jaw can actually break. Worse still, the bacteria of the mouth can seed other areas in the body leading to infection in the heart, liver, kidney or virtually anywhere the bloodstream carries them. This one of the leading causes of chronic heart valve disease, bacterial hepatitis (liver disease) and chronic renal failure in senior pets!
Because of these serious complications of dental disease, we at Animal Medical Services and Galax Veterinary Clinic encourage regular dental care for your pet. This care includes complete professional cleanings as well as home dental care and dietary recommendations to help keep your pet’s mouth clean and those friendly pet kisses odor free.