February is National Pet Dental Health month.
Just as your dentist cleans your teeth once or twice a year, dogs should have their teeth checked and cleaned regularly too. Dogs can suffer from tartar and plaque buildup on their teeth. This can lead to gingivitis (mild), periodontal disease (severe), and bad breath. When the gingivitis is advanced, the doctor may treat it with antibiotics and recommend a teeth cleaning, using equipment very much the same that you see on your visits to the dentists. Pets will be placed under anesthesia to reduce discomfort as their oral cavity is examined thoroughly and their teeth are scaled, removing plaque beneath the gum line. Dental x-rays are also an important part of this process as damage and disease of the teeth aren’t always visible to the naked eye.
Left untreated, periodontal disease not only will damage your pet’s teeth, but can lead to systemic infections linked to heart, kidney, and liver problems.
Catching these problems early is always better; not only will it be less expensive to treat, but more importantly, it will be better for your pet’s health.