Vet Blog

A Quick Look at Pet Oral Health

February 07, 2017

National Pet Dental Health Month is something we look forward to every year.

A whole month dedicated to oral health education is one of the many things our veterinary dreams are made of! In this post, we are taking a look at the basics of pet oral health. We will be discussing why it is important and what can happen if not taken seriously.

Dental care can be an easily forgotten step in your preventative maintenance routine for your pet, but consistent oral hygiene really is something your pet needs, "dog breath" isn't as normal as you might think, and bad things really can happen to your pet's teeth.

Common dental issues your pet can experience:

  • Broken teeth and roots
  • Broken or fractured jaw
  • Abscessed or infected teeth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Cysts or tumors in mouth
  • Misalignment of teeth and bite

The most common dental condition in dogs and cats is Periodontal disease, which is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that develops in progressive phases.

A basic look at the development of Periodontal disease:

  • It first begins with a bacterial film called plaque.
  • That bacteria then attaches to the teeth, dies, and calcifies into a hard, rough substance called calculus.
  • More plaque will begin to accumulate and if left alone, it will begin to spread and lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums causing them to become red, swollen, and to bleed easily.
  • Once plaque and calculus develops below the gum line, professional cleaning is needed to manage it.
  • If the buildup below the gum line is left alone, it will cause an infection to form around the root of the tooth.
  • In the final stages of Periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth erodes, and the tooth becomes loose.
  • Professional dental care is needed at this point.

Bad breath is another common issue most pets experience. Although an unpleasant odor is fairly normal, when your pet's breath because offensive, it could be an indication of an oral health issue.

Other signs of poor dental health:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Loose teeth
  • Tumors on gums and cysts beneath the tongue
  • Broken teeth and roots

For more information or to book your pet's appointment, stop in or give us a call at (502) 425-5834.

Sources: AAHA & Virbac