One in five dogs of different ages or breeds that come to the vet suffer from dental calculus and gingivitis. Studies show that 80 % of two-year-old dogs and 70 % of two-year-old cats exhibit symptoms of a dental illness. Therefore, it is important to keep Your pet’s teeth and gums healthy throughout its life. Daily brushing reduces plaque dental calculus.
Problems in the mouth start with plaque (soft mass of bacterial polysaccharides and glycoproteins in the saliva) gathering on the teeth. Without daily cleansing, the calcium in the saliva will harden the mass into dental calculus. It will form an ugly, hard, yellowish layer on the teeth and will penetrate into the periodontium. It will gradually lead to gingivitis and to deteriorating of the connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. Some of the bacteria form sulphur compounds, causing a bad smell in the pet’s mouth and breath. If the dental calculus is not removed at this stage, the bacteria will reach the alveolar bone and destroy the connective tissue of the teeth. As a result, the teeth will start to move and eventually fall off.
If the infection in the mouth is not treated, bacteria can go into the pet’s blood circulation through wounds in the gums. The bacteria can then spread into vital organs and cause inflammation in the liver or kidneys. Bacteria also increases the risk of infection in pets with heart valve issues, and make the treatment of certain illnesses (e.g. diabetes) more difficult.
Factors leading to dental illnesses:
Without daily cleansing or preventive care plaque and dental calculus can lead to gingivitis and other infections in connective tissue of mouth and gums.
If the pet is only fed soft food, plaque may accumulate faster on the teeth. By increasing biting activities, plaque will be removed and teeth will be cleansed.
Small breeds of dogs whose teeth are close together and unevenly dispersed. Some breeds of cats, such as Somali cats and Abyssinians, have a tendency to get dental and gum issues. Illnesses in the connective tissue of the mouth are also more frequent as the pet ages.
Acquaint the puppy/kitten with teeth cleaning. Brushing should begin gradually. Do not fully open the animal’s mouth. Make sure it gets used to handling the mouth first, e.g. by rubbing its nose and lips. Clean the teeth carefully with a rag wrapped around the finger first and let it taste animal tooth paste. After Your pet is used to this, move on to using a tooth brush and paste for animals, which can be purchased from vet clinics. Start brushing by cleaning a few teeth at a time, the outer surfaces of incisors and canine teeth. when the pet is used to this, move gradually on to brushing the back teeth and cleaning the inner and masticating surfaces of the teeth.
Remember to brush the teeth daily. It is the most effective way of preventing plaque and dental calculus.
If You are unable to brush the teeth, the clinic will advise You in ways to prevent dental illnesses by using special foods and enzyme treats.
It is recommended to check Your pet’s teeth regularly at the vet. The vet will examine the pet’s mouth and teeth and decides on possible procedures.
The vet may recommend removal of plaque and dental calculus and polishing the teeth even if the pet does not have any dental issues or symptoms relating to dental illnesses. In some cases, where there is a lot of dental calculus and gingivitis, the vet may recommend removing the loose or damaged teeth. Pets are usually anesthetised for this procedure.