Naperville_iStock_000031982520_Large (1)Although we look at each individual area of your pet’s body to determine his or her overall wellness; it’s possible that the most influential area we examine is the mouth. The impact your pet’s oral health has on the whole body is astonishing. Even so, many pet owners ignore pet dental health altogether. But it doesn’t have to be this way! With a little fortitude and motivation, we can improve your pet’s dental health and, in turn, invest in a longer, happier life.

Why You Should Care About Pet Dental Health

For some of us, visiting the dentist can be fraught with fear or pain, or both. But that doesn’t stop most people, though, because the ramifications of avoiding professional dental care are huge. And the same is true for your pet.

Saliva and food, when combined with the natural bacteria of your pet’s mouth, create plaque. Calcium salts in saliva build up on teeth and create a welcoming environment for further plaque. Tartar and plaque, when left to their own devices, lead to inflammation in the gingival tissues and and destroy the tissues that support teeth, leading to periodontal disease (gum disease). This oral infection can travel into the bloodstream, eventually damaging the kidneys, liver, and heart.

If your pet shows any of these symptoms of periodontal disease, contact us immediately:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Loose, broken, worn, missing teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Drooling
  • Swollen mouth, gums, or jaws
  • Bleeding from mouth
  • Inflamed gums
  • Loss of appetite, eating difficulty, painful eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Behavioral changed

The Good news? It’s all preventable.

Pet Dental Health At Home

Getting started with pet dental health is as easy as taking a daily look inside his or her mouth. Brushing your dog’s teeth or cat’s teeth may not be anyone’s cup of tea at first, but with practice, you and your pet may even enjoy the extra together time. A soft-bristled pet toothbrush paired with an appetizing pet toothpaste should help to make the experience less traumatizing. Please remember that human toothpaste should never be used on pets! The ingredients in human pastes aren’t meant to be swallowed, and pets don’t spit!

Some pets adamantly refuse having their teeth brushed at home, but there are acceptable products you can purchase to bolster pet dental health – please ask us for recommendations. While prescription diets, dental chews, or rinses are viable options for helping to protect your pet’s mouth against dental disease, none of them are replacements for professional exams and dental cleaning.

Professional Pet Dental Care

We advise pet owners to schedule (and keep) their pet’s annual dental exam. That way, we can stay on top of potential dental problems before or as they arise. We can only see a fraction of dental problems at a routine exam, so we typically take this opportunity to get digital dental x-rays that illuminate what’s going on beneath the gum line.

Your pet’s dental cleaning will be conducted under anesthesia, and we work closely with pet owners who are concerned about the risks associated with this. You pet will undergo tests prior to ensure safe levels and he or she will be closely monitored the entire time.

Taking Pet Dental Health Into Your Own Hands

We hope that you feel supported to make changes in your pet’s oral hygiene. Please let us know if you have any questions; we are always happy to help you and your pet. Happy brushing!