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Dental disease is the most common health problem occurring in adult dogs and cats. By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of dental disease.
Bad breath is the most common effect of dental disease noted by owners, however there is much more than bad breath going on when your pet suffers from dental disease. Dental disease includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia.
Dental disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Then, minerals found in saliva harden the plaque into dental tartar. The major problem develops as plaque and tartar spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this ‘sub-gingival’ plaque causes the gums to become irritated, leading to bleeding and oral pain.
As the disease spreads further under the gum line, the tooth roots may become so severely affected that some teeth become loose or a root tooth abscess may form around the tooth. Bacteria from the mouth can now enter the bloodstream and be carried around the body, leading to systemic problems. Bacteria can travel to major organs, such as the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs and set up infection there.
As you can see, pet dental health is very important. Your pets’ dental health affects more than just their breath. Keeping your pets teeth clean and mouth healthy will help them stay happy and healthy!