Did you know that your pet’s dental health is just as important as your dental health? If you got a pet for Valentine’s Day (or even if you didn’t) you should look into how to take care of your pet’s teeth. Unfortunately, ignoring your pet’s dental health has the potential to lead to much bigger and yuckier problems.
Some of the oral conditions that your pet could end up with are the following:
- Gingivitis – the inflammation of gums.
- Periodontitis – disease that deteriorates the gums, teeth, bone, and oral tissue.
- Pyorrhea – the inflammation of gums around the tooth that can lead to loose teeth.
- Caries – loss of calcium in tooth enamel leading to cavities in the tooth. (Rare in dogs.)
- Plaque – bacteria buildup on teeth, which can cause caries.
- Calculus/Tartar – a combination of organic material, calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate on the surface of the tooth.
Not taking care of your pet’s dental health can lead to other health problems, such as damage to the kidneys, liver and brain. In order to keep your pet healthy, it would be prudent to check their current condition. Ways to look at your pet’s current dental condition and begin to improve it include:
- The Breath Test – smell your pet’s breath. A fish/dog food smell is normal, but if your pet has unusually foul breath that could point to either digestive problems or gingivitis. Check your pet’s breath regularly and it never hurts to brush their teeth.
- Look closely – watch for things, such as:
- Red/Swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Dark red line along gums
- Excessive pawing at mouth
- Brush their teeth – I know it can sound (and look) silly, but it is a great way to prevent disease or inflammation.
- Chew toys – There are several brands of toys for your pet to chew on, designed to floss, massage gums and improve the strength of their teeth.
- Food – Occasionally, the food that your pet eats can cause dental problems. If you think this is a possibility for your pet, ask your vet for a recommended brand of food.
So if you have a new pet on your hands, or if you just want to check your current pet’s dental health, look for some of the things mentioned above. Remember, you could be saving them from a lot of pain (and yourself from a lot of money) in the future.
What are ways you keep your pet’s teeth healthy?