Infected gums and teeth aren't just a problem in the mouth. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria than can 'seed' to other parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints.
Three Steps to Good Oral Hygiene
There are many things you as a pet owner and caregiver can do to help your pet maintain good oral hygiene. The Pets Need Dental Care, Too program provides the following three step plan to good dental health.
Step 1: Take your pet to the veterinarian for a dental exam. Don’t wait for his annual checkup if you suspect a problem.
Step 2: Begin a dental care regimen at home. Your veterinarian can suggest steps that may include brushing your pet's teeth. Another way to combat oral disease is feeding specially formulated foods proven effective in combating plaque and tartar buildup.
Step 3: Schedule regular veterinary checkups.
What if My Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning?
Routine dental care can include dental cleanings (often discounted by vets during Pet Dental Health Month). Dental cleanings and/or extractions are done under anesthesia. The dental itself is much like a human dental cleaning:
Remove tartarCheck for cavities, loose teeth, or gingival (gum) pocketsCheck for growths on the gums or palateRemove diseased teethPolish teeth
Frank says, "Smile".... and don't forget to talk to your vet about your pet's dental health!