Bad Breath in Pets and Other Signs of Dental Problems
Do you cringe when your precious pup wants to give you a big doggy kiss? Does your cat’s breath smell like last week’s tuna? Bad breath in pets is one of the most ubiquitous dental problems among animals, but did you know it’s more than just a foul smell? In fact, bad breath is often the first thing pet owners notice when dental disease is present.
Beyond Bad Breath in Pets: Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions, affecting more than two-thirds of all pets by the age of 3.
Periodontal disease occurs when plaque, tartar, and bacteria build up on the teeth and gums. Over time, this impacts the enamel of the tooth and creates small pockets in the gum line that allow food, debris, and bacteria to accumulate.
When bacteria is present, the body signals the immune system to send more white blood cells to the affected area. Unfortunately, this process does not help, but contributes to the condition, encouraging the buildup of more plaque, tartar, and bacteria.
Left untreated, a number of symptoms and problems can emerge, including:
- Foul smelling breath
- Worn or broken teeth
- Difficulty eating
- Pawing at mouth
- Inflammation and/or bleeding around the gum line
- Tooth discoloration
As conditions become worse, the risk of more serious problems increases, such as abscess and infections that can harm major organs. Many diseases can even be linked to poor oral hygiene, including heart disease and liver and kidney disorders.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention and to seek treatment when symptoms emerge (even better, focus on prevention!).
Addressing Pet Dental Problems
One of the most basic and effective ways you can encourage better oral health for your pet is to practice regular dental care. This relies on routine (daily) tooth brushing, a high-quality diet (ask us for recommendations), and maintaining annual wellness appointments.
Because many of our pet patients have already developed significant plaque and tartar, the only effective way to remove these culprits is through a professional cleaning. Anesthesia-supported dental cleaning allows us to remove plaque and tartar and to take digital x-rays to better understand what’s happening inside your pet’s mouth.
To learn more about providing excellent dental care for your four-legged friend, please contact us.