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Post Categories: Pet Health Tips

Pet Dental Health: It’s Not Just About Teeth

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Did you know good oral hygiene contributes to the overall health of your pet? February is National Pet Dental Health Month and many veterinarians across the nation will be promoting awareness about the importance of dental care. Pets should have their teeth brushed daily as well as examined by a veterinarian during their annual exam. However, dental health is not just about teeth.

Good oral health plays a role in keeping the rest of the body healthy.

Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth at home and regular anesthetic dental cleaning by your primary care veterinarian will keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that by age 3, an estimated 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will show signs of periodontal disease. There are four stages of periodontal disease. If your veterinarian detects your pet’s teeth are in the earlier stages, treatment can be as simple as a cleaning and extractions. If left untreated, however, advanced periodontal disease can result in severe problems such as gum and bone loss, jaw fractures, infections in the nasal passages, and more.

Poor dental health can affect the internal organs.

Here are two statements from the AVMA and the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC):

“Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.” – AVMA, Pet Dental Care 

“Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body. Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Studies in humans have linked periodontal disease to a variety of health problems including poor control of diabetes mellitus and increased severity of diabetic complications. Additionally, it has been shown that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontal disease.” – AVDC, Periodontal Disease

Read our blog post, “Taking Care of Your Pet’s Pearly Whites” for more information on how to brush your pet’s teeth, signs of dental disease, and anesthetic dental cleaning.

Toys and Treats

We also encourage you carefully select your pets toys and treats. Just because it’s sold in a pet store does not necessarily make it safe. The wrong toy or treat can cause teeth to be broken, contents to be swallowed or even be a choking hazard. If you have questions about what is suitable for your pet, please ask your veterinarian.

At VSEC, we offer advanced dental services. If your pet requires this level of dental care or oral surgery, do not hesitate to contact us at 805.492.2436 or email to schedule a consultation. Dr. Paul Hobson, has dedicated his practice exclusively to veterinary dentistry for over 15 years and accepts referrals from veterinarians throughout southern California.

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