As humans, we recognize the importance of good dental care: getting our teeth cleaned and checked each year, taking care of cavities, gingivitis, and wayward wisdom teeth, and following preventative measures such as regularly brushing and flossing. Like us, our pets have teeth that need care and regular maintenance. Poor dental health can make your pet downright uncomfortable, and it can make him or her very sick. Here are a few reasons to add dental cleaning and treatments to your pet’s annual healthcare to-do list.
1. Prevent bad breath and infection
Built-up plaque, tartar, and bacteria can lead to gingivitis, halitosis, swollen gums, and proliferating gum disease. Not only are these ailments accompanied by reeking bad breath, but they can also lead to pain and infection.
2. Prevent dental disease
If your pet has bad breath, discolored or loose teeth, red and inflamed gums or a swollen mouth, jaws, or gums, doesn’t play with chew toys or chew treats as often as he used to, and seems to have trouble eating because of pain, then your pet may have a dental disease.In cats, this could lead to tooth resorption lesions, which eat away at the cat’s teeth. In dogs, broken teeth – a common occurrence – can lead to extra bacteria entering the dog’s bloodstream, which can cause severe pain or infection. In both dogs and cats, periodontal disease is the most widespread dental disease; it is known as the “silent killer.”
3. Prevent periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is one of the most common dental diseases to afflict our pets, and close to three-quarters of all pets older than two years have some iteration of the disease, which can cause pain or infection in the pet’s heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Periodontal disease-related bacteria can also create breathing problems, such as coughing, sneezing, snoring, wheezing, and even heart disease, tracheal collapse, or pneumonia, among other serious problems.