February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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February is almost here and so is National Pet Dental Health Month! There is so much to talk about when it comes to your pet’s teeth.  In order to get to it all I have created a five-part series to shine a light on the importance of caring for your pet’s teeth and highlight what every pet parent should know about modern veterinary dentistry.  Today, I will be talking to you about the disease that causes many of your pets to require a dental cleaning or surgery.

If you notice your pet’s breath is less than fresh, your pet is most likely exhibiting signs of periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats, and pets can show signs of the disease by the time they are three years old.  The disease starts with the development of plaque, hardens into tartar, and finally builds up under the gumline, which causes infection and damage to the jawbone and surrounding tissue. Without treatment health problems can spread to the kidney, liver, and heart, which can significantly affect your pet’s health.

Thankfully, periodontal disease is easily prevented through regular at-home brushing and ensuring you bring your pet to a veterinarian to perform a dental exam at least once a year.  Besides a physical exam of the mouth, veterinarians now have the ability to test the severity of the disease on dogs by using an OraStrip. This quick test directly measures the byproduct of bacteria in the mouth that corresponds to the level of infection caused by periodontal disease.  Depending on your veterinarian’s findings, your pet may require a dental cleaning or even dental surgery.

For more information about dental care or cleanings for your pet, please talk with your veterinarian.  And remember, healthy mouths make for healthy and happy pets.

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