Preventing Gum Disease in Pets

We’ve mentioned in the past how important good oral health is in maintain your pets’ overall health. Gum disease poses a major problems for many pets because if gums are not adequately maintained, the results can affect more than your pet’s mouth. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can impact vital organs like kidneys, liver, and even the heart.

Why Do Pets Get Gum Disease

The simplest answer is bacteria. Each time your pet eats something, bacteria along with food, saliva, and other particles will form a sticky film over the teeth, called plaque. Plaque is normal and unavoidable, it forms any time your pet eats his meals.

However, if plaque is left to build up, this sticky film with begin to harden into tartar. Tartar is very difficult to remove and will spread throughout your pet’s teeth and gums, as well as other parts of the body, if not dealt with immediately.

Dogs are five times more likely to develop gum disease than humans. This is due to the fact that dogs have a more alkaline mouth than people, and this promotes plaque formation. Additionally, dogs are less likely to get their teeth brushed on a regular basis, further increasing the number of plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth.

What Does Gum Disease Look Like?

Unfortunately the early signs of gum disease are no signs at all. Pet owners usually don’t even notice their dog has gum disease until it has already rapidly progressed. Long before the more obvious signs begin to show, your dog is likely hiding chronic pain. What owners do notice are:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Bumps or lumps in the mouth
  • Problems picking up food
  • Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing food

How to Prevent Gum Disease in Pets

The great news is that gum disease is very preventable! All your dog needs is a mixture of home dental care and routine veterinary dental care. Imagine what your mouth would look like if you stopped brushing your teeth, not very pretty. That’s exactly what happens when you do not regularly brush your dog’s teeth. Daily brushings remain the best way to prevent plaque buildup.

And don’t forget to bring your dog to us for routine teeth cleanings. Having your dog’s teeth looked at by a professional ensures that his oral health stays on the right track. We use radiographs to help evaluate areas of the mouth not visible to the naked eye.

Contact us today to put your pet on a comprehensive oral healthcare plan.