February is National Pet Dental Health Month!
It's National Pet Dental Health Month, and in celebration, we at Millhopper Veterinary Medical Center in Gainesville, FL are providing important facts about keeping your pet's teeth and gums healthy. Oral health is very important to the overall health of any animal, not just because it allows for proper eating, but because it also minimizes the chances of infection and other maladies.
Pets Get Plaque and Tartar, Too
Just like their human owners, cats and dogs get plaque in their mouths. When it isn't brushed away in time, it turns to tartar – a collection of calcified plaque remains, food debris, and other unwanted materials. The best way to handle this is to brush the teeth before the plaque has a chance to make this conversion.
Pets who absolutely will not accept toothbrushing aren't completely out of luck. Special chew toys and treats can be given to help clear plaque and tartar in between cleanings.
Pets Need Special Toothpaste
Human toothpaste is too hard on the oral tissues and stomachs of many pets thanks to the inclusion of ingredients, like sodium lauryl sulfate, that are not meant to be swallowed. Since pets tend to swallow anything that gets into their mouths, it's important to use toothpaste that is safe for ingestion.
Pets Need Teeth Cleaning
Since pets have to be sedated for professional cleanings, they usually get them less frequently than humans do. They do, however, still need them – this is an important step for preventing gum disease. Your veterinarian in Gainesville provides this service.
What Happens if a Pet's Teeth Receive No Care?
In short, the same thing happens to pets as to humans. First, gingivitis develops due to the inflammation plaque and tartar cause to the gums. Then, the gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease, which is a full-on gum infection. This infection progresses until it destroys not only gum tissue but jaw bone. Eventually, there isn't enough tissue left to support the teeth, and they fall out.
Cavities also develop in teeth that aren't properly cared for. Since animals can't tell you that they have cavities, the decay often progresses past the point of repair by the time it is detected. Then, the decayed teeth have to be pulled.
Contact Us Today
Professional checkups and cleanings are essential for preventing problems with your pet's dental health. To make an appointment to get your companion's teeth done, just give us a call.
We'll be glad to help your pet keep his pearly whites!