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 toothpaste that does not require use with a brush, veterinary exclusive chews and also water additives.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters especially suffer with dental problems, as their teeth grow continuously, it is vital that they have the correct diet and chew toys, to keep their teeth in tip top shape. Apart from the front teeth, visual of the back teeth is almost impossible, some times the back teeth are not kept in optimal condition and small sharp spurs can grow, this can be very uncomfortable and can tear the inside of the mouth as they are sharp. 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.