Our pets have started to live longer healthier lives through preventative medicine such as regular vet visits, vaccines, proper diet and brushing our pets teeth.
It is wise to start dental care when they are small, so they grow accustomed to having their teeth brushed. The most efficient way is to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for your pets needs. Your pets teeth should be brushed several times a week to remove plaque and prevent tartar build up and periodontal disease from occurring . After a while, you may need a routine dental cleaning done by your veternarian to remove and excess build up.
Plaque: Our pets rarely get cavities, but they are much more prone to gum disease and excess tartar build-up on the teeth. Food particles and bacteria collect along the gum-line forming plaque. Plaque is usually a pale yellow, that develops naturally on the teeth. Like any biofilm, dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria trying to attach themselves to the tooth’s smooth surface Routine home care such as brushing and special treats can help remove this plaque.
Tartar: If plaque is not removed, minerals in the saliva combine with the plaque and form tartar which adheres very strongly to the teeth. Plaque starts to mineralize 3-5 days after it forms. The tartar has formed it starts to irritate the gums and causes an inflammation called gingivitis This can be seen as reddening of the gums adjacent to the teeth. It also causes bad breath. At this point it is necessary to preform a Dental scaling to remove the tartar from the teeth with special instruments called scalers, and then afterwords polish the teeth.
Periodontal Disease:If the tartar is not removed, it stars to build up under the gums. It separates the gums from the teeth and form “pockets” this encourages even more bacterial growth. At this point the damage becomes irreversible, and called periodontal disease It can be very painful and can lead to loose teeth, abscesses, and bone loss or infection. As it progresses, the bacteria is swallowed and may start to cause infection of the heart valves , liver and kidneys. It can even enter the Blood stream. If treated with special instruments and procedures, this can be slowed or stopped depending on the grade of tooth damage some teeth may have to be extracted to prevent this disease from worsening and elevate the pain it is causing your pet.
When preforming dental oral hygiene at home it is important to start young before tartar has had the chance to adhere to the teeth. Brushing will remove plaque but not tartar. So if your pets teeth have tartar, it is necessary for your veterinarian to remove it and polish the teeth and after continue with routine brushing and any other recommendations by the Dr.