Plaque accumulates on our pets teeth just like it does on ours.
Plaque is a sticky film consisting of saliva, food material and bacteria. The brown discolouration, present from a young an age as just one year, arises if plaque is not regularly removed from the teeth.
This is tartar, a hard brown substance tightly adherent to the enamel. If this is present at the tooth-gum margin it causes inflammation known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis is quite tender and if left untreated leads to gum recession, sometimes with pocket formation. This is called periodontal disease. This may extend down the tooth to the bone and lead to tooth loosening and ultimate loss.
Dogs’ teeth can develop holes in the enamel, known as caries. We often find holes in the neck of the cats’ teeth, known as feline resorbtive lesions. Sometimes the gum grows excessively when it is inflamed and needs surgery.
There are various other diseases which can occur in the mouth and these are checked for when we perform any oral examination.
Brush the teeth! We have advanced toothpastes available for dogs and cats which can be safely swallowed and do not froth up like human toothpastes. They are more abrasive too and contain enzymes which clean and disinfect the mouth.
Feed foods designed to help keep the teeth clean:
Firstly chews, all sorts of these are stocked by pet shops and ourselves. We even have chews for cats!
Special oral care diets. Used regularly, the special fibrous nature of the biscuits means your pet cleans their own teeth as they eat their food.
Dental exerciser toys–spread some toothpaste on the rubber toy and your dog cleans his/her own teeth.
Tartar can be removed using an ultrasonic dental scaler just like your dentist uses. This procedure is carried out under general anaesthesia to allow us to thoroughly examine and treat not just the tartar build up but any other tooth or gum disease which may be present. The teeth are thoroughly polished afterwards to help limit plaque adhesion afterwards.
Then preventative measures must be started to limit the build up again.
Remember: A healthy pet has a healthy mouth.
As your pet matures it is vital that any teeth and gum disease is treated to maintain health and vitality into old age.