Our pets get plaque just like we do...

The most common infectious disease in the world in cats, dogs and humans is not swine flu! It is periodontitis, which is caused by plaque bacteria. Periodontitis is called ”the silent killer” in humans and the same can be said for our beloved pets. Unfortunately this disease is often overlooked.

Early detection by annual dental exams can help prevent tissue and bone destruction. Bacteria in the mouth are dislodged even when we eat, so a near steady shower of bacteria in to the bloodstream is common. Typically our immune systems combat the bacterial showers, but over time and if the disease propagates then other body organs such as liver, kidneys, lungs, blood vessels and the heart are often affected.

The key to success is teeth cleanings as needed and dental treatment (periodontal medicine) as needed. Full mouth digital dental x- rays should be done on pets 2 years and up annually when their teeth are cleaned. 70 % of a tooth’s structure is not visible; hence the need for x- rays. Full mouth radiographs detect over 20% of pathologies that would have been missed. Digital radiographs reduce x -ray exposure twenty fold, so safety becomes a mute point.

Teeth cleaning is best done ultrasonically which reduces tissue damage by 90% as opposed to hand scaling. We now have periodontal products out of Europe that can actually stimulate bone and tissue growth in periodontal pockets, which saves vital teeth. Guided tissue regeneration has greatly improved.

Root canals that save a dog or cat’s eight most important teeth have greatly improved quality of life. After proper teeth cleaning and dental care have been performed by your veterinarian, home oral hygiene care is paramount to success. Dental diets, chew toys and, of course, the mainstay just as in people is DAILY BRUSHING. Help your pet’s quality of life and eliminate toothaches by proper dental care.

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