Periodontal Disease in Pets: Preventable but Irreversible Once it Begins
Taking care of your pet’s oral health doesn’t have to be difficult. Like anything else, once you make it part of a regular routine, brushing your pet’s teeth at home is a breeze. Without daily or weekly attention to plaque and tartar build up, your pet’s teeth and gums could become prime targets for decay. Fortunately, periodontal disease in pets is avoidable, and with our easy care tips, your pet’s wellness won’t be compromised.
The Straight Story
When food particles combine with bacteria, plaque forms along the gum line. Naturally occurring minerals in saliva harden the plaque, turning it into tartar (calculus). Over time, the calculus separates the gum from the teeth, forming pockets (a great place for bacteria to grow) that cause tooth and gum decay/loss and infections. Gum inflammation, or gingivitis, results in reddened gums and bad breath.
The 4 Stages of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Periodontal disease in pets can only be diagnosed under anesthesia. Since most of the damage occurs beneath the gum line, fully examining the mouth, measuring pockets, and taking full mouth x-rays is only safe while anesthetized. Only then can we understand which stage the disease is in and provide appropriate treatment.
- Stage 1 – Gingivitis is treated with professional teeth scaling, polishing, and fluoride to reduce the presence/accumulation of plaque.
- Stage 2 – Deeper scaling and the application of local antimicrobial in specific pocket(s) is necessary to prevent support loss. At this stage, 25% support loss is present.
- Stage 3 – Treatment is the same as in Stage 2, but owners must adhere to daily regimens of plaque control. Support loss is between 25-50%.
- Stage 4 – Specific surgical procedures are warranted, such as extraction, to prevent further loss. At this stage of periodontal disease in pets, more than 50% support loss is considered advanced.
Head Things Off at the Pass
There are unfortunate consequences of periodontal disease in pets that go beyond the mouth. In addition to a cleaner mouth and fresher breath, taking control of pet dental care prevents systemic illness. Damaging oral bacteria can actually seep into the bloodstream and create illness in the major organs.
Dental care at home is made easier with various products, such as:
- Pet-specific toothbrushes and toothpastes
- Rinses, gels, and water additives
- Dental diets formulated to slow the mineralization of plaque and tartar
- Dental chews
Our Team is Here for You
Veterinary support is another way to safeguard health and prevent periodontal disease in pets. Not only will we examine your pet’s mouth during every wellness exam, but with professional scaling and polishing, we can lengthen the life of your pet’s pearly whites. .
We always take an animal’s age, breed, genetics, and lifestyle into account as we pursue overall pet dental care. The prevention of periodontal disease in pets is key, and early detection can make all the difference.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns or you notice signs of pain or infection in your pet’s mouth, please let us know.