3 Tips for Treating and Preventing Periodontal Disease
(…while also taking care of their bad breath)
As we are coming to the end of National Dental Awareness month, here are a few helpful tips to keep your pet’s breath fresh and clean.
Getting an oral exam on your pet’s mouth done by a veterinarian can help determine the severity of the periodontal disease. As part of our annual exam, our veterinarians will always look in the mouth of your pet and determine what grade of periodontal disease we may have.
Typically the start of periodontal disease will begin with swelling and redness of the gums and can progress through the different stages. One of the first symptoms owners notice is their pet’s bad breath. If not taken care of, it will start destroying your pet’s gum and jawbones that hold the teeth in place. Sometimes the advanced periodontal disease can be so bad, the bacteria from the mouth can be spread into the bloodstream affecting the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Below are the top three recommendations from our veterinarians to pet owners for the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease.
1. Brushing your pet’s teeth
The number one thing you can do to help your pet’s oral health would be brushing your pet’s teeth daily. Most animals that we see have never had their teeth brushed in their life. Picture that feeling you have when you don’t brush your teeth for a while; now think how your dog/cat feels. Ideally, we would love to be brushing our pet’s teeth the same amount we brush our own.
Typically there are two scenarios. Either owners will forget to brush their pets teeth or their pets won’t let them brush their teeth. Well, we have some tips!
For the first scenario, it might sound odd. But it is to keep their toothbrush next to yours. Then it gives you a reminder; every time you brush your teeth you should also be cleaning theirs. Try to either use toothbrushes made specifically for animals, soft bristled baby toothbrushes, or finger brushes. Always make sure you are using toothpaste made for pets, do NOT use human toothpaste as it contains xylitol which is toxic to animals.
Practicing brushing your dog’s teeth as a puppy is ideal, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out like that. Slowly start introducing the toothbrush to your animal. Let them first sniff it, and then you will be able to gradually brush their muzzle with a clean toothbrush. You can try putting treats (peanut butter/cheese in a can) on the toothbrush and let them lick it off. Even if you can only start by brushing one or two teeth; it is better then not brushing any. Over time it will become easier and more like a daily habit.
2. Dental Care Products
Let’s say your pet is one that will not let you brush their teeth after trying all those tips. Luckily there are many dog dental care products on the market. These substitutions are not going to be as good as brushing, but they would be a great additive for the pets who won’t let us brush our teeth.
One of the easiest things you can do is picking dry kibble over wet food. Most owners are already implementing this into your pet’s daily routine. By having your pets chew on hard food, it is helping scrape the excess tartar off their teeth. You can also help to supplement with prescription dental care food. Hill’s Science Diet T/D is specifically designed for oral health and has anti-plaque ingredients. They make extra-large kibble to help break down the tarter that has been produced. This would be a great opportunity to see what your veterinarian suggests as a teeth cleaning diet specifically for your pet and their lifestyle.
C.E.T Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews are great for the dogs who eat treats in one bite. It forces the dog to use their teeth and bite down on this abrasive treat. These treats are different than most because they have special enzymatic ingredients that help reduce plaque and tartar.
C.E.T. VeggieDent is more like your classic treats. Unlike your typical over the counter treats, this help create a barrier to protect against plaque, calculus, and bad breath.
Treats, toothbrushes, and toothpaste are in stock at both locations for your convenience.
3. Annual Dental Cleanings
Let’s say you are just now learning about the importance of dental health. That’s great! But most likely your pet already has some form of periodontal disease. All the above tips and tricks will help prevent new tartar build-up but it will not get rid of the current calculus on your pet’s teeth.
Annual dental cleaning will help with this. Not only can we “crack” all the excess tartar but we can also use an ultrasonic scaler to clean above and below the gum line. Every dental cleaning we will also polish every tooth. Breaking down those microabrasions to help prevent more plaque build-up.
Our office also offers dental radiographs. Dental radiographs are such a large benefit because we are able to see what is going on underneath the gum line. Sometimes a tooth might look great on the outside, but underneath is the damage from the periodontal disease. If periodontal disease has progressed too much, sometimes we will have to extract the affected teeth.
Most pet insurance companies will help pay for an annual dental cleaning, if not pay for it all. This makes it possible for owners to give pets quality dental cleanings at an affordable cost. If you need help picking the best dental insurances, our customer service representatives can help.
Our goal is to help prevent and treat periodontal disease in animals while also educating owners on the importance of dental care.
Hopefully, these tips made you go “flip your pet’s lip” and check to see what condition their teeth are in. Call either office to schedule a dental exam with one of our veterinarians to make the best dental health care plan that is tailored to your pet.