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At TAH Animal Hospital we see many pets coming in for routine visits leaving with advice from their vet about dental hygiene. One of the reasons for this, as we have found out over time from owners, is the assumption that pets don't need to have their teeth brushed or a visit to the dentist? It seems like a silly idea. Unfortunately the consequences of poor dental health go way beyond bad breath.
Plaque is the sticky, colourless film of bacteria and proteins that constantly forms on teeth. If plaque is left to accumulate on the surface of the tooth, the result will be inflammation of the gums. This is what we call gingivitis. Gingivitis is completely reversibly if treated in time. If left untreated, unfortunately, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the inflammation of the periodontal tissue below the gum. Eventually, this can lead to pain, infection, abscesses, and possibly even tooth loss. If infection is not treated, the bacteria can "seed" to other parts of the body affecting organs such as the heart, kidney, liver, lungs etc.
Bad breath is often the first indicator of dental disease, but look out for other symptoms like a change in eating habits - perhaps only chewing food on one side of the mouth. You may notice that your pet drops food or that his or her mouth is painful. Drooling more than usual may also be seen. Your pet may not want to chew the usual toys, and may rub his or her face on the ground or paw at the face because of the discomfort. You may even notice weight loss and failure to groom.
If you suspect that your pet is struggling with a dental issue, please contact TAH Animal Hospital and request a dental examination.
Although basic pet dentistry is offered by many veterinarians, there are many aspects that require a unique skill set and level of expertise. We are fortunate at TAH to have as the head of our dental team, Dr Jose Almansa Ruiz, who is currently a Resident in Veterinary Dentistry. Dr Almansa Ruiz just focusses on mouths and teeth and has a strong belief that good oral hygiene can be the key to happy and healthier animal lives.
Once your pet's teeth have been examined by a vet, a dental theatre booking may need to be booked by our receptionists.
Oral home care combined with regular pet dental examinations will make a significant improvement in your pet's health, longevity and happiness. Here are some home care tips for brushing of teeth:
Try brushing your pets teeth a minimum of three times a week, ideally once a day, this way you will help keep up good dental hygiene. Remember to never brush your pet's teeth with human tooth paste, ask your Veterinarian what products are best to use.
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