Oral Disease in Dogs and Cats

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed problem for pets. An astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. The most common dental problem among pets is periodontal disease, a painful condition that animals often suffer in silence.

Animals can suffer the same kinds of dental problems as humans, including infection, pain, and fractured teeth. Fortunately, pet owners can help prevent dental disease in their pets by providing dental care. To prevent dental problems, we recommend many various dental products, such as toothbrushes, tooth sealants, special treats, etc. We recommend that pet owners look for warning signs such as bad breath (halitosis), tartar buildup on teeth, change in eating habits, fractured or abscessed teeth, and swollen, receding, or bleeding gums. Call us at (585) 377-1160 if any of these symptoms are present. These warning signs can be a sign of serious dental health problems.

Proper dental care is critical to a pet’s overall good health. It is suspected that if oral infections such as periodontal disease are left untreated, they can travel through the bloodstream and damage internal organs.

Oral disease begins with a buildup of bacteria in the pet’s mouth. Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque formations to accumulate on the teeth. As bacteria grow in the plaque and as calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to mineralized tartar.

If tartar is not removed from the teeth, pockets of pus may appear along the gum line and further separate the teeth from the gum. This allows for food and bacteria to accumulate. Without proper treatment, this plaque and tartar buildup may cause irreversible periodontal disease, which affects the tissue and bone supporting the teeth.

Periodontitis is irreversible and may lead to other health problems. Unlike the inflamed gums of gingivitis, which can be treated and reversed with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque control, periodontitis can only be contained to prevent progression. The disease causes red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain, and bad breath. Untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

Left untreated, oral disease can systematically affect your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys in addition to making daily life miserable from the oral pain they suffer. Additionally, pets with advanced oral disease often suffer from lethargy due to chronic pain, difficulty eating, and constant exposure to infection.