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Did You Know That February Is National Pet Dental Month?

by David W. Mills, DDS  

It is not only important to take care of your own teeth by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Mills in his Euclid, OH dental office but you need to take care of your pet's dental health as well. Just like human teeth, if your pet’s teeth do not get proper treatment they can get tartar buildup and plaque and this can lead to painful periodontal disease. Over 85 percent of dogs and cats over the age of four have this disease and if left untreated can cause other illnesses in your pet. In order to prevent your pet from becoming sick from periodontal disease there are four easy steps to take to decrease those odds: 

1. Beware of Bad Breath

Don’t ignore your pet’s bad breath. If a musky odor is coming from your cat’s mouth it could be a warning sign of periodontal disease or another feline condition called stomatitis. Stomatitis causes pain and inflammation of the mouth tissues and gums. Ignoring bad breath can cause damage to your pet’s teeth and gums and cause problems with their internal organs. Other dental-health warning signs include bleeding gums, yellow or brown teeth, pawing at the mouth, and loose or missing teeth.

2. Teeth brushing

Brushing your pet’s teeth may not be a easy task at first but with repetition and some treats it will become easier. It is important that you let your pet warm up to the idea, first by letting them smell the toothbrush and the pet toothpaste. Once they are used to the idea try to brush their teeth for 30 seconds every other day. Never use human toothpaste, only toothpaste approved for pets. If your pet will not cooperate, talk with your veterinarian for other options of controlling tartar.

3. Food, treats and dental toys

Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best choice for maintaing their dental hygiene but if you find this difficult there are alternatives such as certain treats and food. Also some of the dental toys on the market will help to remove plaque.

4. Dental Exam at the Vets

It is just as important for a pet to have dental check-ups as it is for humans. Your vet will ask you questions about certain warning signs such as bad breath or bleeding from the gums. He will next check if your pet has any tartar, tooth loss, inflammation or cancerous lumps. If your pet is not cooperative it may be necessary to give them a light sedative. Don’t let the use of anesthesia stop your pet from getting a proper dental cleaning.

The vet will take all precautions necessary and will prescreen to make sure your pet is healthy enough. The benefits of dental cleaning are far greater then the risk of anesthesia. 

Remember take care of your pet's dental needs and always keep on top of your own oral health!