By the age of just two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease.
You may have heard your veterinarian recommend a professional under-anesthesia dental cleaning of your pet’s teeth, often with an attached estimate for pet dentistry services that is more than you likely spend on your own teeth in a year. What’s up with that?
First of all, if you were to stop brushing your own teeth, how long do you think it would be before your oral health became a medical concern? Or, put another way, if you didn’t brush, how many times per year would you likely have to visit the dentist to keep your mouth as healthy as it is now? Pet dentistry is the same.
Studies are ongoing, but there is strong evidence that bacteria from your own mouth can travel through your blood and cause heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, fetal development problems, diabetes, and lung disease.
Pet Dentistry for your Dog and Cat
Similarly, bad doggy breath caused by oral bacteria can lead to disease elsewhere within their little bodies, and along with that, a shortened, less healthy lifespan. Besides all that, diseased kitty and doggy teeth are unhealthy, unsightly, stinky, and PAINFUL.
Brushing regularly helps prevent dental work in the future
Clearly, brushing teeth keeps oral bacteria levels at a minimum, and that’s one of the reasons we should all be brushing Fido’s and Fluffy’s teeth regularly. Consider planning and budgeting for a regularly scheduled dental appointment for your pets with your veterinarian at least once a year, to keep the mouth (and heart, kidneys, lungs, etc.) healthy.
HERE’S A MONEY SAVING TIP!!
Well, not really. But I do strongly recommend many clients schedule their annual visit once a year, and an annual teeth cleaning six months later, and keep that appointment regularly through the pet’s life. That way, you’re not hit with the cost of the annual visit at the same time as the annual teeth cleaning.
OK, so now you know you should brush your pets teeth, and take them to your friendly neighborhood veterinarian regularly for cleanings.
But why does my vet need to put my pet under anesthetic for teeth cleaning?
Reason one, first of all, a thorough cleaning includes scraping under the gumline with a handheld or ultrasonic scaler, a process no dog or cat will sit still for.
Reason number two, though, is equally important; anesthesia allows us to do a thorough oral examination for tooth fracture, infection or tumors. The oral cavity is the fourth most common place for cancer.
Here’s a real tip:
The largest teeth in your dog’s (and your cat’s) mouth also happen to be the ones most likely to become damaged by disease. These are the upper canine teeth, labeled “canine”, and the upper fourth premolar teeth, called the “carnassial” teeth. Honestly, as I tell my clients, I suspect if you just brushed the outer surfaces of these eight teeth every other day, you would be doing your pet a world of good, avoiding expensive pet dentistry in the future.
Dr. Magnusson has a particular interest in pet dentistry, has studied one-on-one with a board certified veterinary dentist, and has ties to pet dentistry specialists available in Indianapolis for complicated cases. Leo’s Pet Care is an excellent choice for your pet’s dental health. Please call us at 317-721-7387 to schedule a consult!