The Vet Will See You Now: Dental Care 101
Did you know approximately 85 percent of all pets will have periodontal disease by the time they’re three years old? Bacteria in the mouth causes plaque and tartar to develop on the teeth; if left unchecked, this buildup leads to infections in the mouth, foul breath, pain, loss of teeth, and harmful effects on other important organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver.
Neglecting to maintain your pet’s oral health can ultimately lead to negative effects on their quality of life and a shorter lifespan. Once a year, your veterinarian should perform a complete physical exam, including evaluation of the oral cavity. If periodontal disease is found, then a thorough dental procedure (with dental radiographs)—done under anesthesia—is the best course of action. Performing dental cleanings without using anesthesia is a superficial tooth scraping and doesn’t effectively correct the periodontal disease.
Talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about the safety of putting your pet under anesthesia. In many situations, the risks are much lower than the benefits gained from preventing severe dental disease. To maintain a healthy mouth and clean teeth in your pet, the best prevention is brushing their teeth every day.