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Dental Care - National Fresh Breath Day!

Posted In: Behavior & Training, Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness, News Updates

August 6th is National Fresh Breath Day, so we wanted to remind you about the importance of dental care for your pet! Not only is bad breath unpleasant to be around, but it could be an indicator of more serious health conditions that may affect the wellbeing and lifespan of your pet. Luckily, many of the more serious outcomes can be avoided with routine dental checkups and preventative care.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. 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.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone.

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

It is much easier to treat a five-year-old pet with the beginning signs of dental problems than it is to do a tooth extraction on a senior animal who may not be healthy enough for general anesthesia- so it’s ideal to catch these issues early on. There are a variety of products you can use with your pet for preventative dental maintenance, including dental chews (such as Greenies), water additives to control tartar, oral flakes to prevent plaque buildup, antimicrobial dental wipes, and depending on your pet you may even want to consider brushing their teeth! (Make sure to use special pet-formulated toothpaste though).

Animal Medical Center of Mid-America does routine dental appointments for pets Monday through Friday at both of our locations, and we even offer a free dental product (such as water additives, dental chews, etc.) with each dental visit! But it’s important to schedule your visits well in advance- as with most veterinary practices across the country these days, we are seeing longer wait times than usual for appointments, and in some cases are booking visits 3-4 weeks out.

You may want to consider talking to your veterinarian if your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms below:

  • Bad breath
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • Pain in or around the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.