From the desk of Dr. Lisette Wigton, DVM and Veterinary Department Head:
See the dentist twice a year, brush twice a day, and floss to maintain good oral hygiene. We have all heard this advice from our dentist offices but do you know that many of the same recommendations apply to our beloved pets? Something as simple as tooth brushing can help prevent your pet from having bad breath and keep their teeth and gums healthy. Brushing once a day is ideal but even several times a week can make a difference in your pet’s oral health. The reason we brush is the same reason we recommend it for pets. Brushing will remove plaque (bacterial film) that develops on the tooth surface within a few hours of a meal. This plaque, if not removed, can progress into mineralized calculus and lead to periodontal disease.
Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) occurs due to plaque formation. This plaque, if not removed can mineralize and harden becoming calculus (tartar). Periodontitis (inflammation around the tooth) may then develop. The bacteria associated with this process can weaken the tissues and bone that support the teeth leading to infection and oral pain. Consequences of untreated periodontal disease can be heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. This holds true for both humans, dogs, and cats. In very advanced cases of the disease, this can lead to the death of a pet.
The American Veterinary Dental College website is an excellent resource for pet owners wanting to know more about how to care for their pet’s teeth. There are informative articles about the best practices to help your pet have a healthy mouth for life. This website is also a resource for diplomats of the Veterinary Dental Colleges who can offer advanced treatment options for your pet should they be needed.
For more information on our Veterinary Assistant program, you can visit our website or give us a call at 918.610.0027. Watch out next week for tips on how to choose the best plaque reducing treats, chews and oral rinses for your pets.