With an understanding that it only takes 24 hours for bacteria to solidify into plaque, daily removal of plaque is essential to good oral hygiene. Imagine not brushing your teeth for five years, as is the case with most pets. How do you suppose you would feel?
If left untreated; plaque will build up, form calculus, inflame the gums, and then infection progresses to loosen and destroy the tooth’s attachment. Once this occurs, removal of the tooth and most likely the ones around it is necessary. Here’s something to think about…two-thirds of your pet’s teeth are below the gum line, imagine how long this has been going on without you knowing it. Your pet certainly can’t tell you they’re in pain and most are masters of concealing their pain. Because of this, it’s not uncommon that we face mass removal of teeth as most are barely attached at that point. Pet parents say the same thing after we treat for periodontal disease; “My pet is completely different, he’s eating better, more active, and overall seems happy. The changes were so subtle that I didn’t realize just how bad he felt until he stopped eating”. That’s because they’re no longer in pain.
Effects on Heart, Kidneys, and Liver
The infection that causes the deterioration of the teeth and bone eventually moves into the bloodstream where billions of bacteria must be filtered by the liver and kidneys. Constant clearing of a low-grade infection with no outward signs in your pet can result in an overwhelmed immune system. Liver, kidney, and heart infections can occur from dental disease in our pets much like in people. A decrease in organ function or a heart murmur make it easier for bacteria to take hold and cause damage and organ failure.
Without question, dental radiographs are the best way to see what’s happening under the gum line. Teeth may look fine above the gum line, but below can be a completely different story. The ability to see below the gum line is invaluable as it can tell us what your pet can’t. Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital urges our clients to have dental radiographs performed to catch infection and bone-loss before it has a chance to progress.
Signs of Dental Disease include, but are not limited to:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping food
- Sudden disinterest in chew toys
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen or painful face
- Pawing at the mouth
- Yellow, broken, loose or missing teeth
- Gums that are red, swollen or bleeding
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms it’s time to schedule an exam. We can determine what the problem is and address it quickly, improving the prognosis for your loved one.
Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital’s team of experienced doctors can have your pet back to “smiling”. Let us provide the guidance you need to ensure a long, happy, pain-free life with your beloved pet.