Pet Dental Care – Pet Periodontal Disease
What is Pet periodontal disease?
More than 2/3 of dogs and cats over 3 years of age have dental problems. The most common oral problem is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis, caused by the organism’s reaction to dental plaque and calculus and progresses as periodontitis, an inflammation of the periodontal tissues, a structure that support the teeth into the jaw (alveolar bone) to be destroyed. Periodontitis is irreversible.
The consequences of the periodontal disease are: bad breath, loose and painful teeth and gums, loss of teeth, jaw fracture, metastasis of bacteria to heart valves, kidneys, eyes and joints.
How can I prevent the occurrence of periodontal disease or stop it’s progress?
By regular teeth brushing and professional teeth scaling and polishing from your vet whenever it is necessary. Additionally, you can use specific veterinary dental diets, snacks and chewing toys, which work only supplementary with the above measures.
What should I use, or need for teeth brushing?
A veterinary toothbrush or a soft, straight children’s toothbrush, a veterinary toothpaste and lots of patience. If your pet has a diagnosed oral disease, you should use oral antiseptics as well. DO NOT use human toothpaste because fluoride and xylitol can cause severe intoxication to animals.
When should you start brushing your pet’s teeth?
The best time to start brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth is when they are puppies or kittens. It is very easy for them to get used to manipulation of their teeth and that way you can set an excellent base for your pet’s oral hygiene.
It is never too late to start brushing your pet’s teeth for as long as you follow the following guidelines.
How should you brush your pet’s teeth?
- Start very gradually. Do not expect instant success when brushing your pet’s teeth. It takes a long time for them to get used to this process and there is no reason to hurry.
- Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing.
- If your dog is small enough, hold your dog securely in your laps, with its head facing away from you. If your dog is larger, you should sit on a chair and have your dog sit beside you so that you can comfortably handle the mouth and teeth.
- Start the first couple of weeks only applying the toothpaste to your pets gums daily and let them play with the toothbrush without making any attempt to brush their teeth. Try to pull their lips to the side and let them get used to that move.
- At the beginning, slowly and gently, concentrate on brushing the large cheek teeth and the canine teeth. This is where plaque and tartar accumulate the most quickly. Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this could take up to weeks or months).
- Do not worry about brushing the tips or insides of the teeth unless your dog is very cooperative as it is not absolutely necessary. Most of the periodontal lesions occur on the outer surfaces of the teeth and this is where you should direct your efforts. In addition, the dog’s tongue tends to remove a lot of the plaque from the inner surfaces of the teeth, reducing the need for brushing these surfaces.
- Try to brush each side of the mouth for approximately 30 seconds.
- Try to combine brushing with something pleasant for you pet, as cuddling or before the walk. Avoid giving food after brushing.
How often should I brush your pet’s teeth?
Ideally you should brush your pet’s teeth every day. If this is difficult you should do it three times per week minimum. There is no point brushing their teeth once a week. If your pet has been diagnosed with periodontal disease you should brush their teeth every day to stop the progress of the disease.