Research shows that 80% of dogs suffer a stage of gum disease before they are three years old, which is why it is so important to have their teeth and gums checked regularly.
Gum disease can advance quickly and is one of the most common problems seen by vets. If untreated it can lead to serious damage to your pet’s vital organs.
It is caused by bacteria, which along with food, saliva and other particles, forms the sticky substance, plaque on the enamel of your pet’s teeth. This plaque leads to inflammation of the gums and as it hardens turns into tartar.
If left untreated your pet can develop periodontitis which may lead to tooth loss and severe infections which can travel further afield to the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Scaling tartar from the teeth and polishing the surfaces will get the mouth back to almost new as long as no extractions are needed. Loose teeth and any with infected roots should be removed, as should teeth with significant feline ondontoclastic resorption lesions (FORLs) in cats.
To avoid these procedures it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean. Brushing is the best method but many animals will not allow their owners to do this, so there are other options, such as a meat flavoured toothpaste that does not require use with a brush, veterinary exclusive chews, water additives, special diets and more
Never brush your animals teeth with human toothpaste, as it may contain Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol, that is toxic to dogs even in small amounts. It is widely used as a sugar substitute for humans, and is found in oral hygiene products such as sugar-free chewing gum and toothpaste, for its dental plaque fighting properties.
It can cause low blood sugar levels, lethargy, collapse, seizures, as well as liver damage in dogs, it can also be toxic to other animals.
Please ensure all products containing xylitol are well out of the reach of pets.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters especially suffer with dental problems, as their teeth grow continuously, so it is vital they have the correct diet and chew toys .Apart from the obvious front teeth, they also have cheek teeth. When the cheek teeth are not wearing down evenly they form small sharp spurs, these can be very painful as they can tear the tounge, and cheek tissue. One sign of this is that they will stop eating, as it just becomes too painful.
If you have concerns, make an appointment with our nurses or give us a ring to talk about the best dental care and treatment for your pet.