Ask the Pet Dentist: “What Is Periodontal Disease?”

Of all potential health problems for your pet, dental problems tend to be the most common. Unfortunately, this has become a common occurrence as pets instinctively hide their discomfort. Many pet owners do not notice dental problems until the disease has become severe and threatens the health of the pet. To help you fight this growing trend, let’s ask the pet dentist about pet dental disease prevention, signs, and treatment.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the most common dental disease affecting dogs and cats. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease includes inflammation of gums, or gingivitis, and infection in bone and tissues around the teeth. Unfortunately, unmanaged periodontal disease has been linked to poor quality of life and pet health, especially for pets with diabetes. Additionally, periodontal disease may lead to holes from the mouth to the nasal passages, damage to the tissues around the teeth, heart problems, and kidney failure.

How Is Pet Dental Disease Prevented?

Prevention is critical to avoiding dog and cat dental problems. Your pet should have at least one annual animal teeth cleaning, and you should avoid feeding table food to your pets. Additionally, you should brush your pet’s teeth with an AVDC-approved, pet toothpaste at least twice per week. Some additional products, such as Greenies, are an excellent way of curbing the buildup of tartar and plaque on your pet’s teeth as well.

What Are the Signs of Pet Dental Problems?

You may notice some changes in your pet’s typical behaviors when dental problems are present. Periodontal disease may also be identified, explains WebMD, by the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath.
  • Bleeding and inflamed gums.
  • Loose and missing teeth.
  • Blood in the water dish and on chew toys.
  • Excessive chewing on toys and other items.
  • Making noises when eating and drinking.
  • Swollen pockets and bumps in the mouth and on the cheeks.
  • Avoiding touching on the head.
  • Excessive sneezing, nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing.

What Is the Treatment For Pet Dental Disease?

The treatment for dental disease in pets depends on the progression of the illness. Some teeth may need to be removed.  Teeth may require sealants and a thorough animal teeth cleaning. Your pet may be given antibiotics prior to dental work to reduce the chance of spreading the dental infection. Additionally, you will need to perform some home dental hygiene for your pet, such as brushing his teeth and giving medication.

Although periodontal disease remains the most prevalent health condition for US pets, it’s completely avoidable with proper, routine dental screening and total health checkups. If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your pet, contact University Animal Hospital for a dental consultation today.



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