Dental Cleaning: How To Keep Your Pet Healthy
The importance of keeping your pet’s teeth clean can’t be overstated. Essentially, a pet’s teeth are the gateway to their overall health. What may start with a case of bad breath, painful chewing, tooth loss, eventually will lead to periodontal disease and gingivitis. If left unchecked, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the bloodstream - infecting the heart, kidneys, and liver.
It’s estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. While periodontal disease is NOT reversible, a professional veterinary dental cleaning will help remove tartar from the teeth and gums, reversing gingivitis and slowing the progression of periodontal disease. Regular at-home follow-up will also help maintain your pet’s health between annual professional cleanings.
Dental Cleaning 101
What is a professional veterinary dental cleaning? During this safe and painless procedure, we remove plaque and tartar build-up from your pet’s teeth while they are under general anesthesia. This keeps the pet still and pain-free while we conduct a thorough inspection that includes the following:
- Removal of visible plaque and tartar from the teeth
- Elimination of plaque and tartar from under the gum
- Probing of dental sockets to assess dental disease
- Polishing to smooth enamel scratches that may attract bacteria
- Application of fluoride or a dental sealer
- Removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth
- Dental charting so the progression of dental disease can be monitored over time
- Inspection of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems
How To Know The Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning?
The first sign most pet parents notice will usually be bad breath. Don’t take this issue lightly. There are several serious conditions that can cause stinky breath including, teething – other oral or periodontal issues, gastrointestinal problems, and metabolic disease.
Regular examination of your pet’s mouth at home can uncover early signs of your pet’s teeth need for further inspection and cleaning by our doctors. If you see signs of a brownish-gold build-up on the teeth and close to the gum line, tartar build-up is likely the cause. Redness and bleeding of the gums are also an indication that gingivitis is present.
Your pet may also have dental disease based on these signs.
- Pawing at the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Loose or missing teeth
Any of these signs can indicate dental disease. Make sure you schedule a check-up with us for a thorough evaluation.
Benefits of a Professional Dental Cleaning
There is no doubt a professional dental cleaning provides your pet important protection to their overall health and happiness. By removing tartar and plaque from their teeth and the bacteria under their gums, you significantly reduce potential infection to their mouth and other vital organs. Dental cleaning also helps protect your pet from pain and tooth loss.
Doing Your Part To Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Clean
While professional dental cleaning is an important step in your pet’s long-term health plan, continued care and attention at home is needed to ensure they stay healthy between cleanings. Like people, pets benefit from daily brushing. This helps remove food from the teeth and maintain the health of the gums.
When cleaning your pet’s teeth try using a child’s toothbrush or a pet finger brush. Avoid using people toothpaste since the ingredients can be harmful if swallowed. You can find pet-approved toothpaste, rinses, and chews to help prevent tartar build-up. Your vet will prescribe products for your pet based on their dental health.
October Dental Special
At AVAC we take your pet’s dental health seriously. From thorough exams and professional cleanings to preventative care and maintenance, our vets make sure your pet’s dental health is a priority.
For the month of October, we are offering a 20% discount on your pet’s professional dental cleaning. To schedule an appointment, call (205) 967-7383. Space is limited so call today to reserve your pet’s date.
Julie Grimes, DVM