- Plaque (a transparent film of bacteria, cells and food particles) forms and sticks on tooth surfaces
- Plaque build up causes bad breath and redness or inflammation of the gum line (gingivitis)
- Plaque can begin to calcify within 72 hours and form tartar (a visible shell on the outer surface of the tooth)
- Increased inflammation of the gums becomes evident and may cause bleeding at the gum line
- Tartar stuck on the tooth surfaces is covered with newly formed plaque
- The bacteria in plaque secretes toxins and enzymes which cause further inflammation of surrounding periodontal tissues
- With continued gingivitis, some loss of tissue attachment begins at the gum line and leads to the beginning stages of bone loss around tooth roots
- The mouth can be quite painful and uncomfortable when eating
- Recession of the gums due to tartar buildup
- Gingivitis may progress to infection of the tissues and bone around the tooth roots and the tooth (or often a few teeth!) may need to be extracted
- A change in eating habits may be noticed – either not wanting to eat at all or swallowing food without chewing
Throughout all stages of periodontal disease, bacteria can be picked up and carried by the bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily and feeding them an appropriate dental diet can help decrease oral bacteria and stop dental disease in its tracks.
**Thank you to our wonderful mouth model, Daisy, a 4 year old Maltipoo.
A healthy body begins with a healthy mouth. Brushing, regular dental exams and oral health nutrition is the combination for a long, healthy life.
There is a strong link between good oral health and heart and kidney health. Plaque full of bacteria builds up on the teeth daily and causes the gums to become irritated. The irritated gums eventually begin to bleed and allow the active bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Bacteria in the bloodstream then travel throughout the body and can negatively impact vital organs such as the heart and kidneys.
Follow these steps to improve your pet’s oral health:
Daily brushing is the foundation of oral care. Life gets very busy at times, but squeezing in this extra daily task is well worth it. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily, you can make a big impact in their oral health. Brushing helps remove plaque (a colourless film containing harmful bacteria) before it has a chance to mineralize into tartar on your pet’s teeth (the yellowish-brown debris visible on your pet’s teeth).
To maintain your pet’s optimal oral health, annual or semi-annual dental checkups should be done. Some animals form tartar in their mouths more quickly than others. For those pets with a history of oral health problems, more frequent exams are a great idea and regular professional cleanings may be advised.
As well as brushing and regular dental checkups, there is also specially formulated food available to aid in removing plaque and bacteria and help reduce gingivitis. The pieces of food work like a toothbrush as they are crunched by your pet.