Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinary surgeons today. The problems begin when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your pet’s teeth.
Plaque harbours bacteria, which can infect gum tissue and the roots of teeth, causing disease and tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter the blood stream and may cause damage to internal organs. Recent studies have shown that certain heart, liver and kidney diseases may be associated with these bacteria.
What are the signs of poor oral health?
- Persistent bad breath;
- Sensitivity around mouth;
- Loss of appetite;
- Difficulty eating and chewing food;
- Pawing at mouth;
- Loose or missing teeth;
- Bleeding, inflamed or receding gums;
- Tartar (creamy-brown hard material on teeth).
Caring for your dog’s teeth
The first step in promoting oral health is to have your pet thoroughly examined by a veterinary surgeon. It may be necessary for your pet’s teeth to be cleaned above and below the gum-line. This simple cleaning procedure requires your pet to be anaesthetised. Recent advancements in anaesthetic techniques and materials have greatly reduced the risks previously associated with this procedure. It is then recommended that an oral hygiene programme be started at home.