We frequently have dogs and cats come in for dental check ups, and we check their dental health at every vaccination. We believe dental health is important and are here to help people understand their pet’s dental health and make the right choices to enable their pets to have healthy mouths for life.
Dental health is important to save your pet from the discomfort and pain of periodontal disease, to prevent tooth loss, and to stop the negative chain of consequences that poor dental health brings.
Periodontal disease in pets occurs when plaque film and tartar (hardened plaque) build up on the teeth both above and below the gumline. This accumulation irritates the gum tissue and allows bacteria to flourish, leading to damage of the supportive structures of the teeth - the gums and the fibrous connective tissue that connects the roots of the teeth to the surrounding alveolar bone.
Pet dental disease can be broken down into four stages, as follows:
Stage 1 (GINGIVITIS) – This early stage is characterised by gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums in response to the presence of tartar and bacteria. You may observe some swelling of the gums. A thin red line on the gums next to the teeth may also be visible during this stage.
Stage 2 (EARLY PERIODONTITIS) – This stage occurs when there is a small amount of bone loss – less than 25% – visible on oral radiographs. You may notice inflammation of your pet’s gums, bad breath, and some visible plaque and tartar. At this point, your pet will need professional cleaning to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar, and to reverse the progress of dental disease.
Stage 3 (MODERATE PERIODONTITIS) – Serious dental damage begins to occur at stage 3. This is when 25-50% bone loss is visible on oral radiographs. Gums will be swollen and irritated, and probably bleed easily. There is loss of gum attachment to the tooth, forming areas known as periodontal pockets. Your pet may also experience bad breath and significant pain. They will need to have affected and/or damaged teeth removed.
Stage 4 (SEVERE PERIODONTITIS) – Extreme, chronic periodontal disease is evident in the 4th and final stage, where bone loss of 50% or higher is visible on oral radiographs. Your pet is in severe pain and is at risk of losing multiple teeth. Bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body cause systemic infection and damage to internal organ.
Dental Care is a key part of your dog and cats everyday health. July is dental month so North Coast Veterinary Services is offering discount vouchers on dental food to help keep your pets' smile pearly white.