What is dental disease?

Dental disease includes inflammation of the gums and mouth, broken teeth, resorptive lesions and other changes in the mouth. 

A contributing factor to dental disease that you as an owner can influence is plaque. Plaque is made up of food particles, saliva and bacteria, which stick to the surface of the tooth and if not removed, will calcify into tartar and progress from there.

Dental disease occurs above and below the gum line and over time can lead to the destruction of the supporting tissue of the teeth (including the bone), resulting in bad breath, oral pain and loss of teeth.

Dental disease is very common and is the leading cause of early tooth loss in cats and dogs. If left untreated, and the dental disease advances, it can contribute to heart, liver and kidney problems.

What are the signs of dental disease?

There are a number of signs that can alert you to the possibility that your pet is living with dental disease.

Before and after a dental procedure

How can I help my pet have a healthy mouth?

Regular health checks will help to identify any development of dental disease and will allow your veterinarian to discuss the best management plan for your pet. For adult cats and dogs with existing dental disease, a dental procedure under general anaesthetic is often necessary to get their mouth back into top condition. This will allow us to start preventative measures with a clean mouth and prevent, or slow down, dental disease developing again in the future.

There are things you can do at home such as introducing vet diets, in particular dental diets that can significantly reduce the development of tartar. Some chewy treats are also specifically designed to reduce tartar, promote healthy gums and freshen breath.

If your pet is calm and relaxed, daily brushing of their teeth with a specially designed pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste is also very beneficial.

For more information about how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy talk to your local Animates Vetcare team.