Puppies and kittens lose their "baby" teeth in the first year. Getting your pet used to having their mouth examined and teeth brushed is a good start to healthy teeth and gums. As pets age, dental tartar and plaque may affect not only the teeth, but gums, heart and internal organs as well. Here are some dental health resources to keep your pet healthy.
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Keeping your pet's teeth and gums in good shape has many health benefits in addition to the sparkling fresh breath. Here are answers to several common pet dental health questions.
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Dental disease is not simply suffering from "bad breath" -- infections of the gums, teeth, and oral cavity can spread via the bloodstream to the heart and liver, possibly causing additional health problems. Dogs and cats may express dental pain and disease in many ways. Here is a list of common signs and behaviors seen with diseases of the teeth and gums.
Plaque is a soft deposit on the teeth. This deposit consists of large amounts of bacteria with additional particles of foods, proteins, and cellular debris in the deposit. Learn more about the dangers of the this bacterial buildup in this glossary entry.
Tartar is a hard, yellowish deposit on teeth. It is composed of mineral salts, food, and other debris that has hardened over time. Tartar cannot be brushed off.
Home care (brushing) does not require anesthesia, and is definitely a part of good oral health for your pet. In addition to home care, your vet may recommend a professional cleaning if your pet has bad breath or related problems. Learn what is involved with a veterinary dental and why general anesthesia is necessary in this FAQ.
Most veterinarians send home printed handouts after an anesthetic procedure detailing the pet's post-procedure care. This is helpful because in the busy discharge time of most clinics, coupled with excitement at seeing their pet, many owners don't hear all of the details or think of questions until after they are home. This article discusses general post-procedure care. Please call your veterinarian with specific questions about your pet's recovery.
Now that your pet has been examined by your vet and the teeth have been professionally cleaned (if necessary), what's next? These tips will help you find the best "tools" and techniques for your pet's dental needs.
A professional cleaning (and removal of any diseased teeth) will make home dental care easier and often with better long term success. This FAQ discusses different types of pet dental care products and where to find them.
Every dog is different in how they will accept you working in their mouth with a toothbrush and touching their teeth. You know your dog best, but you don't want to get hurt. So, it is important to start with short positive sessions. Here is a video to help get you started. As always, please see your veterinarian for pet-specific guidance on what tools/methods would be best for your pet.
Bad breath in pets, especially dogs, is often joked about, but can be a serious health problem. Rarely is bad breath related to last night's dinner. Often, it is a sign of poor dental health that should be checked out with your veterinarian as soon as possible.