The good news is that due to advances in preventative healthcare over the last 20 years are cats and dogs are living MUCH longer! The bad news is that unless you brush your pet's teeth every day like your own, your pet will be unlikely to reach a ripe old age without needing some form of dental treatment. Should that happen we are fully equipped to perform dental x-rays, scaling, polishing and extractions.
Most dental problems in dogs and cats are as a result of gum disease. The problem begins when plaque and subsequent tartar are allowed to build up on your pet's teeth. If plaque is allowed to accumulate it will calcify into brown tartar which is firmly attached to the teeth and has the appearance of dirty lime scale. Tartar harbours bacteria and accelerates the damage to the gums by the harmful bacteria. It is impossible to rinse plaque from the teeth - it must be removed physically by means of tooth brushes or other mechanical aids. Bacteria can also enter the blood stream through the blood vessels in the gums and may result in heart, liver and kidney disease.
There are a number of ways to prevent plaque and subsequent tartar from accumulating on the teeth:
1. Tooth brushing: Ideally all pet's teeth should be brushed daily. It is best to use enzymatic toothpaste and a soft brush or electric toothbrush.
Tooth brushing is the most effective method of plaque removal.
2. Enzyme gels and mouth washes: (Logic gel & Hexarinse). There are many pets who will not tolerate tooth brushing. The use of enzyme gels and mouth wash can control the oral bacteria which form plaque.
3. Enzyme chews: Raw hide or vegetable chews which are impregnated with enzymes. These are designed to provide mechanical action to clean the teeth and also to deposit enzymes in the mouth to inhibit plaque forming bacteria.
4. Prescription diets: Such as Hills TD diet will minimise plaque accumulation on teeth due to its mechanical action. The kibble has to be penetrated before it will break. With normal biscuit diets, the kibble shatters as the tooth hits it, providing little mechanical action.
Come along to one of our free nurse clinics to learn about tooth brushing and dietary treatments to keep your pets' breath nice and fresh.