Oral health is important for your pet’s quality and longevity of life. Dental disease can affect our dogs and cats at any stage of their life, but is most common as they begin to enter middle age and is one of the most common problems affecting our pets today. Studies have found that 85% of dogs and cats over 6 years of age have some form of dental disease.
What is dental disease?
Dental disease usually begins as gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. This can be seen as an increase in the redness of your pet’s gums, especially at the gumline. Tartar is the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, usually starting at the gumline together with gingivitis. As the dental disease progresses, the gums recede from around the teeth, leading to tooth infections and tooth loss. The bacteria that builds up around the teeth can spread into the blood stream and ultimately affect the liver, heart, lungs or kidneys.
What signs should I look for that indicate my pet has dental disease?
- Bad breath
- Reddened, inflamed gums
- Tartar and plaque on the teeth
- Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat
- Blood in the saliva
- Weight loss
- A swelling below the eye
What can I do to prevent dental disease occurring in my pet?
Feeding raw and meaty bones provides a great chewing action to clean teeth and gums. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is one of the best ways to prevent dental disease, as just like in humans, tartar will accumulate on the teeth if we do not brush it away. There are flavoured toothpastes made specifically for our pets that help break down plaque and kill bacteria. Finally, specialised foods such as Royal Canin Dental food have been shown to decrease the rate of plaque formation on pets’ teeth.
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