Dogs and Cats, like us, have 2 sets of teeth in their life time. Their deciduous teeth (milk teeth) erupt between 4-6 weeks of age and are replaced by their adult/permanent dentition between 4-6 months of age. Problems with teeth can be identified by discoloured teeth, red gums, bad breath, difficulty eating, dribbling and pain. Dental issues can act as a source of infection, which can cause disease elsewhere in the body e.g. kidney and heart infections.
Dental disease in pet dogs and cats is one of the most common problems we see at the practice. In some studies, up to 85% of dogs have been reported to have dental disease. There is no reason we should treat our pet’s teeth any differently to the way we do ours. This however is not always practical.
Tooth brushing is the ideal. No amount of brushing however will replace the need for specialist dental scaling and polishing to achieve optimal dental health.
When assessing a pet’s dental health, decisions have to be made as to the benefits of dental treatment. In the vast majority of healthy pets with dental disease the benefits to overall health, of dental scaling and polishing, outweigh any risks.
There are many benefits to removing the plaque and tartar (treating inflammation and infection) and extracting severely damaged teeth, including:
1. Removal of pain for the individual
2. Reduction of inflammation and bacteria in the mouth, reducing risks to other organs in the body e.g. Kidneys, Heart and gastrointestinal tract.
3. Greater ability to self groom – a very important factor for cats in particular
4. Sweeter smelling breath!
Our nurses offer free dental advice and are more than happy to show you how to brush your pet’s teeth. They can talk to you about other ways of looking after your pet’s dentition if you find brushing difficult. Just call us for a free appointment.