Our pets dental health is vital to their general wellbeing. Strong healthy teeth ensure they can enjoy a balanced and nourishing diet, whilst being able to groom and play in a normal manner. Unfortunately, if your pet’s dental health begins to slip, it could lead to a number of illnesses, some of which may surprise you. We take a look at some of the most common issues associated with dental health in this blog.
Plaque that exists on your pet’s teeth contains all different kinds of bacteria. These bacteria can trigger a response from our pet’s immune system as it seeks to eradicate the bacteria. Although it is often successful in removing harmful bacteria, this response can cause damage to the gum tissue that holds your pet’s teeth in place.
This response is known as gingivitis, a condition which is actually more harmful to teeth than the bacteria that it eradicates. It causes an area of the gum around the teeth to become red and inflamed. You can counteract this inflammation by simply maintaining good dental hygiene that removes the bacteria before any problems occur.
If your pet has unhealthy teeth then it’s likely that plaque will progress into tartar build-up. This can lead to pockets forming around the roots of the teeth as a result of horizontal or vertical bone loss. This can be painful for pets and can lead to a severe loosening of the teeth that will eventually fall out. Often the only remedy is to remove the affected teeth completely.
Prevention is always the best cure for tooth decay as the effects are irreversible, so adopt a tooth brushing routine that eradicates plaque and protects your pet’s teeth.
It may seem the heart and teeth are completely unrelated, but there is strong evidence to suggest a link between dental disease and heart disease in pets. The risk of developing cardiopulmonary diseases like endocarditis is six times higher in dogs with moderate to severe dental disease according to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).
It’s also common that infected heart valves will contain the same cultured bacteria that can be found in the mouth. Dental hygiene is not only important for your pet’s teeth, but it can also help prevent life-threatening issues.
Diabetes and dental disease in pets can work together to form a vicious cycle. Although it’s not obvious whether dental disease increases the risk of diabetes or vice versa, the occurrence of dental disease is far more common in diabetic dogs.
Even more concerning is the fact that dental disease can make the symptoms of diabetes worse and likewise, diabetes can make the effects of dental disease worse. With this in mind, it’s important that you adopt a strict dental hygiene routine for diabetic pets to help manage the effect it can have on their teeth.
Chronic pain is often undetectable in pets due to their ability to hide any signs of discomfort – a survival instinct passed down from their wild ancestors. Dental disease can cause pain that develops slowly and gradually gets worse. As a result, it can lead to many years of suffering. This can have a severe and unseen impact on your pet’s quality of life, to a point where it will impact what they can eat and can cause them to lose their appetite all together.
As dental disease takes hold it weakens the teeth. If it goes unnoticed for a long period of time this weakness can spread to the bones in the jaw which become brittle. This can lead to fractures in the jaw occurring from innocuous seeming circumstances such as whilst playing.
These instances can be even more common in smaller dogs that already have very fragile bones.
Even more alarming is the fact that the damage that happens to the bone becomes harder to repair because the bone itself becomes weaker and more brittle as a result. The only way to prevent such cases happening is to begin checking your pet’s teeth so that you can identify any issues early.
How to avoid dental disease
With dental disease prevention is always more effective than the cure. It’s important that dental hygiene becomes part of your pet’s daily routine. There are a wide range of products that can help combat the early stages of plaque build-up, whilst spending time getting your pet used to brushing is important.
Reduce the risk of dental disease by following these 4 steps and don’t be afraid to reach out to your vet for expert advice.
- Get your pet used to their teeth being touched so that you can check for plaque or tartar build-up
- Adopt a brushing routine – follow this guide for help
- Use products that will help reduce plaque such as plaque powder or treats
- If you notice any symptoms of dental disease visit the vet immediately
- More advice from Knutsford Vets Surgery
Find out more about caring for your pet’s teeth by reading our other blogs below.
Dental Health Articles
Read our dental health advice articles for handy tips to help you look after your pet’s teeth. We’ve even got a range of video articles for you to watch.