National Pet Dental Health Month
As humans, we are recommended to go to the dentist twice a year for routine check-ups and deep cleanings. In between these scheduled cleanings, we brush our teeth every day. The same idea goes for our pets. Pets should get dental cleanings at least once a year, and they should have their teeth brushed every day. Brushing every day may be a difficult task to complete for some pets, so veterinarians suggest that you brush your pet’s teeth at least several times a week. Dogs tend to accept this more than cats, but with practice and patience, they can at least learn to get used to it. Other options include dental wipes or a diet specifically targeted for dental health.
Dental Scale and Polish Routines & Anesthesia
Aside from what you can do at home, let’s talk about what an annual dental scale and polish routine looks like. These procedures require anesthesia, which can sound scary, but is a necessary part of the routine. Using anesthesia, doctors can minimize the pain and discomfort your pet feels during this procedure. Anesthesia also prevents your pet from moving, which is very important, because this routine requires a lot of precision from the veterinarian staff.
Consequences of Ignoring Dental Health
So, what happens if you don’t take care of your pet’s oral hygiene? Other than plaque, tartar, and bacteria growth, there are a couple different types of diseases that can be contracted due to poor dental health.
The first, and most common, are periodontal diseases, which are infections between the teeth and gums. After periodontal disease, common diseases include gingivitis, halitosis, tongue lesions, oral tumors, and gingival hyperplasia. Common symptoms that may indicate an underlying dental disease are bad breath, poor appetite, dropping food when eating, bleeding or inflamed gums, broken or loose teeth, or discolored teeth. If neglected for too long, a typical dental cleaning can turn into necessary extractions. Not only can extractions be costly, but they can be extremely painful and uncomfortable, both before and after the surgery.
Prevention is the best treatment, not only for your pet’s overall health, but for their dental health as well. Without proper care, a preventable problem can become a major debilitating or life-threatening problem.