One of the primary causes of these problems is gum disease which sees bacteria-harbouring plaque and tartar accumulating on your pets' teeth. This can in turn infect the gum tissue, causing pain and potential tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter the blood stream and cause damage to their internal organs, which untreated can lead to organ failure and eventually death.
Research has shown that dental disease is the primary health concern for cats, with around 70% of felines aged over 3 experiencing some form of dental problem. Between 4 and 6 months of age kittens lose their baby teeth and develop their permanent ones. Once the permanent ones are present your cat should have around 30 teeth.
Some of the symptoms of dental disease in cats include:
- Bad breath
- Decreased appetite
- Discolored teeth
- Blood in the saliva
- Bleeding, red or swollen gums
- Weight loss
- Receding gums
- Broken or missing teeth
Dental prophylaxis, otherwise known as a clean and polish, is the most routine dental treatment performed on cats. It usually takes around 60 minutes and there is no need for your cat to stay with us afterwards. Whilst all dental work requires that your pet has general anesthetic, the risks are minimal and we can perform a pre-anesthetic screening test if requested or required. Once your cat is under sedation we will perform an oral examination before commencing with cleaning and polishing. If any radiographs or extractions are required then we will do them at this time.
It is vitally important for you to carry on your cat's dental care at home. There are a variety of brushing kits available that usually include a finger brush, small pet toothbrush and special toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on your pets' teeth. Make brushing your cats' teeth an integral part of their daily routine to ensure that you are providing the best preventative care to dental disease possible.
Doggy dental care is also extremely important. Most adult dogs will have 42 teeth by the time they are 7 or 8 months old but many show signs of gum disease by the time they are 4 years old due to a lack of proper cleaning.
Symptoms of poor dental or oral health can include:
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed or red gums
- Loose teeth
- Cysts under the tongue
- Tumours in the gum
- Particularly bad breath
As with cats, brushing your dogs' teeth as a part of their regular daily routine can help prevent the onset of oral decay. There are plenty of canine brushing kits available, or alternatively you could use gauze wrapped around your fingers. Again, make sure you purchase special pet toothpaste as human toothpaste can make them very sick.