Dental care isn’t just a necessity for us humans; it’s essential for cats and dogs, too! Clean teeth equate to a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth makes for a healthier pet. On the other hand, if your pet’s teeth and gums are not clean, then their oral health, and overall systemic health, might be at risk for infection.
Our Colorado Springs, CO, veterinarians recommend making dental care a staple in your pet’s routine. We also recommend periodic teeth cleaning procedures at our animal hospital, where our veterinary team can provide expert care to diagnose and treat existing oral issues and thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth. Cat and dog teeth cleaning procedures are the most effective way to remove plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces, above and below the gum line, and safeguard your pet’s tooth enamel from excessive, future buildup.
There are several specific reasons dental care should be a permanent fixture in your pet’s lifelong treatment. But first, we’ll establish what dental disease is, then address the reasons we advocate so strongly for dental care and consider it essential to your pet’s health and well-being.
What is Dental Disease?
Dental disease, or periodontal disease, is a progressive bacterial infection of the mouth and it’s one of the most prevalent conditions affecting dogs and cats today. A majority of pets will show signs of dental disease as early as age 3. Dental disease will worsen over time if it isn’t treated, so the sooner it’s addressed, the happier and healthier your pet will be!
Dental disease stems from the buildup of plaque on your pet’s teeth. This plaque eventually hardens and becomes tartar, which can wreak havoc if it’s hidden below the gum line. Tartar can secrete infectious bacteria into your pet’s mouth, and if the bacterium gets under the gums, it can cause irreparable damage to the gum tissue and roots of the teeth.
Gingivitis, or inflammation and redness of the gums, is one of the early warning signs of dental disease and can be quite uncomfortable for your pet. Advanced dental disease will result in tooth loss, potential weakening of the jawbone, and possible disease of the heart, liver, and/or kidneys.
Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats
Dental disease can start subtle, and your pet might not show any obvious signs of a problem until their condition has progressed to a more severe stage.
The clinical signs we tend to look for include:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen gums
- Plaque and tartar buildup along your pet’s gum line
- Any signs of loose or broken teeth
- Deep pockets around the teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping food when eating and having difficulty chewing
5 Reasons We Recommend Teeth Cleanings for Dogs and Cats
Teeth cleanings can help to resolve and prevent all kinds of oral health problems in pets, especially dental disease. They can also aid in the treatment of gingivitis and dental disease, and significantly improve your pet’s quality of life.
Here are 5 specific reasons we recommend routine cleanings for your dog or cat:
1. Health-Saving Early Detection
Pet teeth cleanings can aid in the early detection of conditions such as gingivitis, abscesses, tooth resorption, cavities, and much more. We perform teeth cleanings with pets under anesthesia so our team can be as thorough as possible in examining and cleaning the teeth and gums. Catching infections and disease processes early on means they’ll be much more treatable and less likely to leave lasting effects.
2. Prevention of Oral Infections and Diseases Altogether
Having your pet’s teeth cleaned annually (or whenever recommended by their vet) can prevent a host of oral health problems altogether. By keeping plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth to a minimum and cleansing it away before it can seep under the gum line and secrete harmful bacteria, we can prevent the development of gingivitis, dental disease, and possible tooth loss.
3. Better Quality of Life for Your Pet
Another reason we promote teeth cleanings is that they can give our pet patients a better quality of life than they would have otherwise. Oral infections and diseases can be painful and interfere with your pet’s ability to eat, chew, play with toys, and enjoy life in general. The chronic discomfort that often comes with poor oral health can also affect their mood and make your pet less happy and sociable.
4. Cost-Effective Treatment
Routine teeth cleanings can actually prove to be cost-effective in the long run for you and your pet. By preventing serious infection in your pet’s mouth, which could result in irreversible oral damage and disease of the major organs, you’re also preventing the need for expensive, intensive treatments to address those issues.
5. Potentially Longer Lifespan for Your Pet
Regularly scheduled teeth cleanings can contribute not just to a healthier life for your pet, but a potentially longer life, too. Keeping painful, infectious oral conditions at bay can prevent a wide range of other, related diseases, ensuring a stronger immune system for your pet. They’ll be able to function normally and stay active, which is key to a healthy life. Your four-legged family member will be much happier too and enjoy a closer bond with you!
Is Your Pet Due for a Dental Checkup?
Bad breath is neither normal nor healthy for dogs and cats. If it has been a year or more since your pet last saw their vet, then it’s time for a checkup! Here at Cheyenne Mountain Animal Hospital, we recommend annual oral exams and teeth cleanings.