Why Your Pet Needs Professional Dental Cleaning

Dental hygiene is something no one wants to talk about, let alone manage.

Many of us don’t keep up on our own cleanings every six months, which is why when I read this staggering statistic it was an eye opener: 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by 3 years old! Periodontal disease often starts with gingivitis (swelling around the gums and tooth), then as it progresses the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces or pockets that become infected.

If this goes untreated, the bones, gums, and tissue around the teeth are destroyed. Not all pets will suffer from the worst case scenarios from this disease. Your pet’s experience could range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage or bacterial infection that spreads to the bloodstream.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Since the likelihood of your pet having some form of periodontal disease is high, here are a few symptoms to help open your eyes. Bad breath, swollen red gums, painful chewing, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and tooth loss are all red flags of a periodontal crisis. Bad breath is caused by bacteria. When this bacteria combines with food particles and minerals a hard tartar forms and adheres to your teeth. Through this hard shield the bacteria have free rein to expand under the gums and eventually, if left unchecked, it can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys, and liver.

How To Prevent or Treat These Diseases

The good news is there is a way to protect our canines from this ever too common ailment. With regular professional cleanings and in-home teeth care you can improve the health of your pet’s mouth, reducing the amount of unnecessary pain, infection, and vet bills. Even if you currently brush your pet’s teeth regularly, the only way to remove plaque and tartar is through a professional cleaning.

Regular brushing, however, can lengthen the gap between professional cleanings, saving you some cash. Your vet may also recommend product that you apply weekly to prevent plaque buildup. It creates a barrier on your teeth that plaque can’t adhere to.

How the Pros Can Help

More good news! With professional dental cleanings and follow-up care, gingivitis is reversible. Periodontal disease is permanent, but regular at-home care and professional veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the disease.

You may be wondering what exactly happens in a professional cleaning. It’s similar to a human cleaning except, your pet is usually put under anesthesia so they can access their entire mouth without causing pain. They examine the tongue, gums, teeth, and lips, remove tartar, apply fluoride or a dental sealer where necessary, remove fractured teeth, and assess/chart the level of dental disease. If your pet has signs of an active bacterial infection, your dentist will stabilize or remove the infected tooth and provide appropriate antibiotic care in order to avoid a systemic infection. You can use dental treats that are designed to help prevent the mineralization needed for tartar creation.

Meet the Author: Shannon Enete

I’m never happier than when I’m in nature with my pup. Walking amongst green giants covered in moss, a crystal clear river running alongside us providing water for my pup and a cool down for me. When I’m not in my happy place I’m teaching high school Medical Science or writing lifestyle, pet, and travel pieces.

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