When your pet eats, tiny bits of food get stuck in between and on the surface of their teeth. Pets aren't great about brushing their own teeth, so if those bits aren't brushed away by their human friends, they continue to build up into something called plaque, which eventually hardens and turns into tartar.
As tartar continues to build up, the connection between the gums and teeth deteriorates and the gums pull away from the teeth, creating small grimy pockets where bacteria thrive, ultimately leading to dental disease.
Dental disease is the most common major health problem of cats and dogs.
Without frequent brushing at home and regular professional cleanings by a veterinarian, most dogs and cats will show signs of oral disease by the time they're three years old. Dogs and cats still have a lot of playing, pouncing, snuggling, and putting questionable things in their mouths ahead of them at three years old, so dental care is a great way to make sure they're feeling their best while they do it.
What happens if dental disease isn't treated?
When bacteria from the contaminated pockets is absorbed into the bloodstream, infections can occur in the heart, lungs, brain, and/or kidneys, sometimes causing fatal damage. On a less drastic but still very unpleasant and serious scale: untreated dental disease can also cause intense pain and discomfort and lead to a whole host of nasty complications like periodontal disease, rotten or abscessed teeth, and sinus and jaw infections.
If your ears perked up at the mention of teeth brushing because you brush your pet's teeth regularly, kudos! Seriously, you're a pet-person-rockstar of the highest order and we think you're awesome! But.... your pet still may need a dental cleaning. Just as we humans need to visit the dentist regularly for evaluation and cleaning in addition to dental home care, so do our pet friends.
Dental disease is serious, but this message isn't all gloom and doom.
We can work together to keep your pet smiling and feeling great! At home, you can:
Brush your pet's teeth. Ask us to show you how at your next visit! (If brushing isn't feasible, ask us for other ideas!).
Check your pet regularly for any of the signs mentioned above.
Schedule yearly dental examinations with us.
Because preventing dental disease is so important to your pet's overall health, we're asking our terrific clients to consider bringing their pets in to see us for a full mouth assessment, dental x-rays to look at the tooth roots, and teeth cleaning and polishing!
Call us today at 808-944-0003 to schedule an appointment. Whether your pet friend needs a comprehensive dental treatment or a quick dental check-up, we'll get their entire body on track - from clean, fresh mouths to happy tails!