A minor dental infection can become a major health problem for your pet.
Over 85% of dogs and cats more than four years old have some form of periodontal disease. This can be a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attack the gums, ligaments and bone tissues that surround and support the teeth. Dogs and cats more than 7 years old are especially susceptible to dental trouble. Periodontal disease is the most common infectious disease in both dogs and cats.
It’s important to have your pet’s teeth examined by your veterinarian on a regular basis. If not treated, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, causing serious health problems for your pet.
How does periodontal infection start?
Most periodontal infections begin with plaque. Plaque builds up in the groove between teeth and gums, causing irritation, redness, and swelling. Eventually, pockets form, which allows bacteria to damage the tissues that hold teeth in place. Because most pets do not brush and floss daily as we do, plaque build-up is a common occurrence. Imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brushy them daily. The same applies to your pet’s teeth!
Bacteria from the oral infection can easily invade the bloodstream and then the vital organs, especially organs with the highest blood flow such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver.
- Persistent bad breath
- Sensitivity around the mouth or gums
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Plaque (not often visible)
- Bleeding, inflamed or receding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Difficulty eating and chewing
Antibiotics are a safe cure for periodontal infections. Clavomox® has been proven to reverse or halt the periodontal disease. It is not recommended for use in dogs or cats with a history of an allergic reaction to penicillins or cephalosporins. The safety of use in pregnant or breeding animals had not been determined.
Prevention of dental disease should be included as part of your pet’s overall health maintenance program, just like vaccinations and grooming. Choose a system that works best for you – chews, rinses or brushing, and regular dental examinations by your veterinarian.
Tooth brushing may take some training, for both you and your pet, but will turn into a rewarding experience. Remember when brushing your pet’s teeth to be patient, proceed slowly and gently. Use plenty of petting and praise. Soon, both you and your pet will look forward to the tooth brushing time as a pleasure as well as an important health care procedure.
What You Can Do?
Make sure your pet has a regular, annual visit with your veterinarian. Like people, animals need professional attention on a routine basis. The cleaning or dentistry (link to dentistry under services) may require your pet to be put under anesthesia. If you have any concerns about this, please discuss them with your veterinarian.
Tooth brushing is considered the most effective method of removing plaque and preventing periodontal disease. It is important to use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for pets and shaped to fit your pet’s mouth. Pet kinds of toothpaste have flavors that appeal to pets and need not be rinsed. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda – these contain ingredients that should not be swallowed by your pets.
Diets can also play a major role in preventing plaque and tartar. Soft or sticky foods can cause plaque build-up and periodontal disease. Dry food and biscuits can help remove plaque. Chew toys are also beneficial for dogs and cats, especially on days when you can not brush. However, only tooth brushing can remove plaque and food debris below the gum line, which is where disease-causing bacteria flourish.