February is Pet Dental Awareness Month!
How often do you see your dentist? How often should you see your dentist? The answer is dependent on your own dental needs. Test your knowledge about pet dental by clicking here
On average 100 million Americans fail to see the dentist annually for regular exams and hygiene and that is even when most insurances cover a routine visit every 6 months. During my time working at a dental support organization I learned quite a bit about dental care and how it affects not only your oral health but your whole body health – this is called Oral Systemic Health, the connection between oral health and overall health. *Many studies have linked poor oral health to systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, periodontitis, cancers, etc. the list goes on. Because of this there is a huge push from the American Dental Association (ADA) regarding oral hygiene maintenance
But what do you really know about pet dental care and oral hygiene? Is it the same as humans? Do they have cat and dog dentists, or maybe you can just bring them with you to your next appointment? With February being National Pet Dental Awareness month, it’s the perfect time to tackle the topic of pet dental health with us at Canine Caviar.
Dog Dental Care is Tough
When it comes to pet dental needs, I model my pets after my own. They are seen twice annually for a regular checkup by their vet prior and cleaning by a registered hygienist. Additionally, I brush my pet’s teeth nightly and use an anti-tartar mouth wash. That being said, all three of my pets (one dog and two cats) all have gingivitis and periodontal issues. How is this possible? I’ve done my best to provide good dog dental care so why is this the result? The fact of the matter is dog dental care is tough. You need to go out of your way if want your dog to have a nice set of chompers. Your dog’s teeth are one of its most important assets so it’s imperative that we do our best.
Here are some helpful tips that you can easily do to avoid expensive dental visits
Visit With the Vet
Schedule an exam with your pets regular veterinarian to access your pets oral health. They will exam your pets teeth, gums and oral cavity and make a recommendation regarding the type of treatment is needed (anesthetic or non-anesthetic cleaning). Your vet is truly the only person that can conduct a great assessment on your pal’s dog dental care.
Dog Teeth Cleaning at Home
Ask your veterinarian to show you proper at home dog teeth cleaning with the recommended toothpaste (for pets only, never use human toothpaste). This should be done daily. I perform dog teeth cleaning for my dogs at night after all food is consumed. That way, their teeth stay nice and clean throughout the night.
Pet Dental Appointments
Schedule an appointment for your dog teeth cleaning for every 6 months. If the office you normally see does no offer this service you can always find one by googling pet dental. This is what you should expect. Anesthetic dental is typically a more thorough assessment of your pet’s oral health as they are able to clean the teeth, request dental radiographs or X-Rays. This helps them assess the bone level around the teeth and possibly determine periodontal disease, and extractions. If this is the case, it is highly recommended to have the tooth/teeth removed.
Food That’s Dog Dental Care Friendly
Believe it or not food helps clean the teeth. Kibble is hard enough to help keep the tarter down on pets’ teeth. Dog dental chews are also a great way to keep teeth clean. They keep your dog occupied while at the same time cleaning their precious teeth
Being Proactive Toward Oral Health
Only you can truly monitor dog dental care for your buddy. They can’t brush their own teeth or monitor their dental health. It’s important to look at your dog’s teeth around the clock to make sure they’re staying healthy. Here are some red flags to look out for and if found seek immediate attention:
- Bad Breath
- Loose of discolored teeth
- Sensitivity of the mouth
- Difficulty eating, dropping food
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed gums
- Cysts under the tongue or gums
Preventative dental routines can help ensure your pet stays healthy not just orally but physically. The mouth should be treated like any other part of the body and it’s important to understand how bad oral hygiene can affect pets. We hope this has helped you understand you dog’s oral health better. You’re one step closer to providing quality care for you special companion. Check our blog for more helpful tips and tricks!
*References and to read more:
- Demmer RT, Desvarieux M. Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease: The heart of the matter. JADA October 2006;137(Supplement 2):14S-20S. Accessed February 2, 2018. (PDF)
2. Mealey BL. Periodontal disease and diabetes: A two-way street. JADA October 2006;137(Supplement 2):26S-31S. Accessed February 2, 2018. (PDF)
3. Zoellner H. Dental infection and vascular disease. Semin Thromb Hemost 2011;37(3):181-92. PubMed. Accessed Accessed February 2, 2018.
4. Nesse W, Dijkstra PU, Abbas F, et al. Increased prevalence of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases in periodontitis patients: a cross-sectional study. J Periodontol 2010;81(11):1622-8. PubMed. Accessed Accessed February 2, 2018.