I was unaware that dogs have dental problems. Is it common?
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease. Most pets will show few signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
Are dental problems the same in pets and people?
No. In man the most common problem is tooth decay which, due to the loss of calcium from the enamel, results in painful, infected cavities. In the dog tooth decay represents less than 10% of all dental problems. The most common dental problems seen in dogs are caused by periodontal disease.
What are the clinical signs of dental disease?
There are a number of signs that should alert you to dental disease or other mouth problems in your cat. Your cat may show a decreased interest in food or approach the food bowl and then show a reluctance to eat. It may chew with obvious caution and discomfort, drop food from the mouth, or may swallow with difficulty. Dribbling may be seen, possibly with blood, and there may be a marked unpleasant odor to the breath. In some cases the cats may be seen pawing at their mouths or shaking their heads. A reluctance to eat may lead to weight loss, which can become quite marked. Many cats will refuse dry food and demonstrate a preference for moist or canned foods. Dental disease and oral pain may account for the “finicky appetites” that many cats display.
Is gingivitis always associated with dental disease?
A slight degree of redness seen as a thin line just below the edge of the gum may be considered normal in some kittens and adult cats with no evidence of dental disease.
Some cats develop severe gingivitis with minimal signs of accompanying dental disease. The affected areas may extend beyond the gums to other areas of the mouth, such as the throat or tongue. The cause of this condition is not fully understood but it is likely to be multi-factorial and may differ between individual cases. This condition is often very difficult to control and may require repeated or constant treatment, and its accurate diagnosis can involve extensive investigative procedures.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth contributes to gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth surfaces. Untreated infection then spreads into the tooth socket and ultimately the tooth loosens and is lost.
Is periodontal disease very common?
It is estimated that over 68% of dogs over three years old suffer from some degree of periodontitis, making it by far the most common canine disease.
How can I prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure?
Plaque and tartar begin forming in as little as six hours after your pet’s dental cleaning. A home dental care program is a must for all pets. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions onhow to brush or rinse your pet’s teeth.
Can I use human toothpaste?
Human dentifrice or toothpaste should not be used in dogs. These are foaming products and are not meant to be swallowed. Additionally, many types of human toothpaste contain sodium, which may cause problems in some pets