LET THE TOOTH BE TOLD
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, periodontal disease affects 80 percent of cats and dogs before the age of four. A progressive infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth, it can be very painful for your faithful four-legged friends. Not only can they suffer from bleeding gums and tooth decay, infections from the disease can lead to life-threatening illnesses.
A regular oral-care prevention program can help diagnose and treat problems in their early stages. And there’s no better time than right now to begin.
DENTAL HEALTH EXAM
It’s generally recommended that you have your pet’s teeth checked once or twice a year, depending on their age, breed, diet and lifestyle. Your veterinarian can look for accumulation of plaque and tartar, dental abnormalities, fractures, signs of bacterial spreading, and periodontal disease. A thorough dental cleaning procedure includes ultrasonic scaling and plaque removal, mechanical polishing of the tooth surface, dental charting and dental x-rays (if indicated).
HOME DENTAL CARE
Of course, prevention starts with you. Look your pet right in the mouth – their
teeth should look clean, white and smooth, with firm, pink gum tissue. Buy a pet toothbrush and toothpaste and brush their teeth every day if you can, but at least once a week. There are products available to help make the job more pleasant for both of you, like special toothbrushes and chicken, seafood or beef-flavored toothpastes. Yum! Reward your pet with a treat, and they just might start looking forward to it. Let the face-licking begin!
THE PETKINS DIET
Look for the “Seal of Acceptance of the Veterinary Oral Health Council” on foods to determine if they meet standards for plaque and tartar control. Dog biscuits will remove some plaque, but cannot clean below the gum line and will not prevent periodontal disease.
THE WHOLE TOOTH
With effective, preventative maintenance, at home and with regular veterinary
dental care, painful and progressive oral disease can be averted before it even starts. Stick to this simple program and keep your pet’s pearly whites shiny and bright.