Did you know that more than half of the dogs that come to clinics have periodontal disease? Many of you may think that your cat and dog’s oral health is normal. You may think that there is no problem, especially if it is eating normally. Unfortunately, most of the time this is not the case. And this disease can cause issues not only in the teeth and gums but also in the heart and kidneys. Therefore, it is useful to learn about your dog’s teeth and dental health to take precautions.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the tissues around the tooth, including gum tissue. It is most common in older dogs, however, the incidence is higher in toy breeds, especially Maltese and Yorkshire terriers.
Bacteria are naturally present in the mouth, but when their numbers increase too quickly, plaque can form on the teeth. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can develop in a dog if plaque builds up and isn’t eliminated. Treatment can be entirely curative at this point.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
- Plaque, tartar, calculus on the tooth surface
- Bad breath (halitosis) is the first sign that a dog has dental disease.
- Scabs and itching the infected areas.
- In the early stage (gingivitis) there are signs of inflammation of the gums around the affected teeth.
- Dogs may have difficulty eating
- Gingiva (gum) surface is bleed easily when playing or mouth examination
- Loose teeth
Periodontal disease is common both in dogs and cat. If not treated, can lead to infection in other areas of the body and may cause heart, kidney and liver disease.
Risk factors of periodontal disease
- Toy and miniature breeds with crowded, breed-specific teeth are more prone to have a dental problem than other breeds.
- Poor nutritional status
- Other illnesses
What are treatment options for periodontal disease?
Gingivitis is the initial stage of the disease and can be completely reversed with treatment. Once the periodontitis stage is reached, the change cannot be completely reversed but can be controlled to prevent progression.
- The key element of treatment is the mechanical removal of plaque and tartar from the affected teeth. Surgical intervention may be necessary and, if the disease progresses, tooth extraction may be necessary.
- Antibiotics can also be used in combination with medications or surgical treatment. They are used for severe periodontitis when there is a risk of a bone infection or the infection spreading to other parts of the body.
How to prevent dental disease in dogs?
- Yearly dental check-up and professional teeth cleaning
- Home care essentials such as tooth brushing, effective products (for example chews, rinses, gels) that are approved to help to reduce tartar, plaque.
If no treatment is given, the disease progresses to severe periodontitis, which is characterized by more severe inflammation of the gums, teeth, and loss of bone and connective tissue around the teeth. This process can be controlled, but it can not be completely reversed. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and can also lead to infection in other areas of the body and may cause heart, kidney, and liver disease.
If you have concerns about your pet’s oral health, schedule an online appointment from your Veterinarian.
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