MPH Blog

Posts for tag: prevention

By Morena Pet Hospital
March 01, 2013
Category: Dentistry


Dear Pet Owner,

Cats and dogs, like people, have one set of baby teeth which are replaced by a set of permanent teeth at around 6 months of age. These teeth have to last a lifetime, which is why it's so important for your pet to have a regular dental check-up every 6 months to one year.

Have you looked inside of your pet's mouth lately? It seems like an odd thing to do, but it's a huge step towards proper pet healthcare. Oral disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in patients of small animal hospitals. Studies show that as many as 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop signs of periodontal disease or gingivitis before they reach three years of age.

During a dental check-up, your pet's teeth will be examined for cavities, faulty enamel, root exposure, tartar, and any sign of loose or cracked teeth. In addition, the gums will be examined for any sign of disease or inflammation. By far, the most common form of dental disease in animals is dental calculus - plaque buildup.

Plaque is an accumulation of soft tissue and bacterial debris mixed with salivary secretions, and it can cause serious problems including gum recession, loosening of the periodontal ligament and teeth, loss of bone surrounding the teeth, and tooth abscesses. Symptoms include bad breath, mouth pain, and an inability to chew properly. Some of the more serious problems associated with periodontal disease occur when bacteria from the plaque gets into the sinuses, and from there into the bloodstream. The bacteria then finds its way to the areas of high blood flow, potentially causing disease in heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

The good news is PREVENTION is easy! Start by having your pet’s teeth and gums periodically examined for evidence of dental problems once or twice a year and professionally cleaned as needed. Imagine what might happen if you hadn’t seen a dentist until you were 20 years old! A dental exam and cleaning should become part of your pet’s regular veterinary visits. 

A diet of dry food, as well as hard treats, and even regular tooth brushing with a pet-specific toothpaste can help to maintain your pet's dental health between tooth cleanings. Starting your pet on a dental care regimen can help detect existing problems early before they become more serious and also prevent new ones from starting. With dental disease, just with any health-care issue, the best defense is a good offense! Working together, we can help keep your pet’s teeth and his/her overall health in check. At your next visit, please ask us for a hands-on lesson in providing good home dental care for your pet.

Call to have your pet’s dental health evaluated today!


The Doctors and Staff of Morena Pet Hospital