DENTAL DISEASE- GET THE ANSWERS!
Mosman Vet (Vet, 2017)
Vet, M. (2017, 7 12). http://www.mosmanvet.com.au. Retrieved from Dental Disease- Get The Answers!: http://www.mosmanvet.com.au/Blog/tabid/21948/EntryId/543/Dental-Disease-Get-The-Answers.aspx
Dental disease is one of the most common problems affecting our pets, with recent data suggesting 85% of pets over the age of 3 years have some degree of periodontal disease – no surprise really given that our furry friends do not brush their teeth! Not only does dental disease cause bad breath, pain, loss of teeth and poor appetite, it can also contribute to heart disease and kidney disease which explains why Vets take dental health so seriously. All pets should have their teeth examined every year at their general health check.
1. What are the best ways to keep my pets teeth clean? What can I do at home?
Daily tooth brushing with a soft child’s tooth brush with a pet specific tooth paste is the gold standard and most effective way of removing plaque from teeth. Aside from that, mildly abrasive diets and dental chews can help. The average pet needs a professional dental assessment, and at least a scale and polish every 2 years.
2. Instead of a full dental can’t we just pick off the viable tartar?
Dental disease is like an iceberg, with the main issues actually occurring below the gum line, where we cannot see it. Tartar and plaque that coats the external tooth surface will also extend to coat the tooth underneath the gum line, and is this tartar which causes big problems. Tartar under the gum contains bacteria and causes inflammation that, if left untreated, eats away at the bone that holds the teeth in place. During a real scale and polish, the Vet removes not only the visible tartar on the tooth’s surface, but also the invisible plaque layer and all of the tartar, plaque and bacteria in the gum pockets. The polishing after a clean also smoothes the surface of the teeth and makes it harder for tartar to come back quickly
3. Why do Vets and dentists always suggest Dental X-Rays, are they really worth it?
Dental radiograph are a fantastic piece of technology for assessing the degree of dental disease in a mouth. A relatively cheap diagnostic test (many clinics offer dental X-Rays for approx $50) they are amazing things. They show up little secrets we can’t see with the naked eye. Dental Radiographs give us a view of the teeth externally and below the gum line, allowing us to get a complete picture of the tooth’s condition, and the state of the pocket it sits in. They will show up bone loss around teeth, areas of decay that might be hidden under the gum margin, and also pick up more serious issues. Most of the time the decision whether to remove or keep a tooth will be based around what your Vet sees on a dental X-ray.