“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” says the Benjamin Franklin quote ; rings true today when it comes to pet dental care. Healthy teeth and gums are an essential part to your pets’ overall health.
You invest in your pets’ happiness with family time, time to play and exercise, sweaters to stay warm or just look darn cute, and most importantly veterinary care. Investing in a healthy mouth is critical to your pet’s overall health. In human medicine they have linked dental disease with adding complications to diabetes, stroke risk, and cancer. Good pet dental health supports an overall general health and wellness.
Why Pet Dental Care is Important
It is important to help pets maintain healthy teeth and gums. Here is a quick list of why you should care about good oral health for your pet:
1.Puppy breath isn’t really even cute on puppies. If you pet doesn’t have good breath you won’t want them cuddling up close to you. No pet parent wants that. Bad breath can be an indicator of underlying periodontal disease.
2. Prevention is far less expensive than treatment. We, as humans visit our dentists for a professional cleaning as well as brushing and flossing our teeth at home. Think cost of cleaning vs. cleaning + cavity, vs. cleaning + cavities + root canal, ect. Caring for your pets’ teeth in a similar way can prevent the problems of periodontal disease before they start. This saves on pet health care expenditures over the long haul.
3. Good health starts from within (within the mouth that is). Dental disease in humans and pets have been shown to correlate with overall body health. Studies in dogs have indicated that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. All can lead to other disease processes or exacerbate current disease conditions.
4. There is a lot you can’t see with the naked eye. Pets give us very few if any signs they have discomfort or pain due to periodontal disease before it has progressed too far to treat and save teeth. You can see the buildup on teeth but below the gum line, and into the root of the teeth and bones can have infections or other issues only caught with the use of a dental probe and x-ray examination. Anesthesia is needed to properly evaluate the disease with the help of a dental probe and x-rays will give a true representation what is happening below the gum line.
5. Don’t let age fool you. Even young pets can have problems that need to be addressed with their veterinarian. Retained baby teeth typically are removed if they don’t fall out on their own. This can cause issues with the gums or promote early tartar build up. When overcrowding occurs, adult teeth can be moved to abnormal locations leading to early tooth loss. If not removed, adult teeth end up permanently in the wrong place and orthodontic treatment may be recommended.
6. Both dogs and cats are good at hiding pain. It is quite easy to miss signs of dental disease until it has progressed. Although your pet seems fine, a trip to the vet for an oral exam and professional dental cleaning is important. This yearly preventative care is more cost-effective and patient friendly than waiting until you notice a problem.
Pet Dental Health Month
February is National Pet Dental Health Month which is a good time to implement a home dental care routine for your pet. It takes some planning, training, and a little effort on your part but adding a dental home care routine will pay off in the long run.
So many things about pet parenting are not within our control. Dog dental care and cat dental care is something we can take an active role that will contribute to their overall health and enjoyment of life.
If you like these points about pet dental care, share this article with your friends who have pets.
Happy Pet Parenting,
Cover📸 Marliese Brandsma
Inset 📸:I-20 Animal Medical Center