Posted on 12-07-2017
Dogs and humans experience the same buildup of plaque that causes gum disease - but our pet’s gums are 5x more susceptible
"The exact process that results in periodontal (gum) disease in humans affects our pets," says Brett Beckman, DVM, FAVD, DAVDC, DAAPM, a veterinary dentist practicing in Florida and Georgia.
The process is simple but merciless: Plaque, which is made of saliva, mouth cells, food, and other toxins, forms on your pet’s teeth just minutes after eating. If left untreated, the plaque builds up, leading to gum inflammation that can cause tissue decay. The decay will progress even deeper by creating inflamed pockets between gum and teeth. Left untreated, this infection will penetrate deep enough cause bone damage, resulting in the loss of your pet’s tooth - the ultimate end of periodontal disease.
80% of dogs over 3 years old have periodontal disease
While gum disease is usually the biggest dental problem a dog faces, it's not the only one. Some dogs, especially larger breeds, are also prone to broken or fractured teeth. All of this can add up to your pet experiencing severe oral pain.
But a dog owner almost never notices the chronic pain because our pets have evolved to hide it.
Their animal instincts urge them never to show a sign of weakness, not even to their owners. Your dog's mouth could have bleeding gums or abscessed teeth and your dog may still eat without flinching. That's why it's vital you do your part to maintain your pooch's oral health.
The good news is, gum disease in pets is preventable before it happens and treatable even if it does
Periodontal disease happens in stages. Worst-case scenario, your pet’s mouth has sustained bone loss which means the tooth will have to be removed. However, long before this becomes necessary, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure that your pet’s teeth stay healthy and intact.
The best way to protect your pet from suffering any level of periodontal disease is to brush their teeth twice a day. Because pets experience the exact same buildup of plaque as humans, it makes sense that they should receive the same dental care. This includes scheduling regular cleanings and checkups to maintain your pet’s dental health. What can my vet do for my pet's dental health?
However, if your pet is already suffering from periodontal disease, if you bring them in for treatment before bone loss occurs, their teeth can be saved. Cleaning the periodontal pocket and affected areas and applying oral gel is effective to reattach the gum to the tooth before further damage occurs.
Next time you brush your teeth, remember that your pooch is depending on you to do the same for them. Daily upkeep combined with regular oral checkups will save your pet from a degenerative oral disease that can be prevented by your loving care.
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