Oral Care For Pets: Why It’s More Important Than You Realize

Good oral health isn't just important for humans; pets need to take care of their pearly whites, too. Damaged or decaying teeth can lead to all kinds of problems in cats and dogs, so it's important that you keep an eye on your pet's teeth to ensure they stay healthy. Here are just a few reasons why caring for your dog or cat's teeth is more important that you may realize.

Tooth loss

Like humans, puppies and kitten will both lose their first set of teeth, or baby teeth, during the first year of their lives. This occurrence is normal, but if they lose teeth later on, it could be a sign of oral disease that could affect their overall health. Dogs and cats need their teeth for eating and protecting themselves, so a loss of your pet's adult teeth can be especially problematic. Sudden tooth loss can occur after an injury, but it can also happen as a result of gum disease or infection in the mouth, which can spread to other areas of your pet's body and make them seriously ill.

Bad breath

If your pet has bad breath, it's usually a sign of periodontal disease, but it can be an indicator that something more serious is wrong with your pet. Kidney disease, diabetes and intestinal cancers can all cause your pet to have halitosis. Unless you know that your pet's breath smells bad because of something they ate, you need to have your pet examined by your veterinarian to rule out a serious health condition.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease can be a serious problem for your pet. When food and saliva combine with bacteria in your pet's mouth, it can lead to plaque buildup, which in turn can lead to periodontal or gum disease. It can also cause your pet pain and discomfort, making it hard for them to eat.

Infections in the mouth and gums can spread to the bloodstream and cause serious problems for your pet. Undiagnosed infections that spread to the blood can cause septicemia, or blood poisoning, in your pet. This can be a life-threatening condition, so it's important that any dental health problems are properly diagnosed and treated in order to keep your pet healthy.

Treatments for dental problems in pets

If your dog or cat has dental problems, there are some treatments that can help improve their oral health. Prevention is best when it comes to treating dental problems in your cat or dog. Take your pet to the vet for regular cat or dog teeth cleanings, just as you would go to your dentist for your own cleanings. This can help prevent dental health problems and catch minor problems before they become serious ones. Your vet may need to anesthetize your pet in order to give them a proper cleaning, so speak with them before the checkup to make sure your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia.

Brushing your pet's teeth may seem impractical, but it is a great way to prevent periodontal disease. Your vet may recommend that you use a special toothbrush for your pet, but if your dog or cat is not willing to let you brush their teeth, you can also try giving them specially designed chew toys that help remove the plaque from their teeth. 

Maintaining a healthy diet can also help to prevent tooth decay and oral health issues in your pets. If you're not sure what types of foods you should be feeding your dog or cat, ask your vet. They can recommend foods based on your pet's age and nutritional requirements. Older pets may need softer food to help keep their aging teeth healthy, while younger pets may enjoy the benefits of firmer or chewier kibble.

Keep your pet healthy by making good oral care a part of their health care routine. Help your pet live a long and happy life with proper dental care.