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    Dental care

    BAD BREATH AND DENTAL CARE: A HEALTHY MOUTH = A HEALTHY PET

    Dental health plays an essential role in your pet’s overall wellbeing. It’s a matter of both home hygiene (e.g., diet, brushing) and professional dental care (e.g., scaling). When it comes to dental hygiene, you and your veterinarian are a dream team! On top of your everyday efforts at home, professional veterinary dental care protects your cat or dog from bad breath, tartar buildup, gum disease, and other problems.

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    ORAL HEALTH: FOR YOUR PET’S WELLBEING

    A healthy mouth is critical to your pet’s overall health and wellness. But how do you tell if your cat or dog is suffering from an oral health problem? It’s easier than you might think. Do they have stinky breath? It’s actually the easiest warning sign to recognize, but most people don’t know that bad breath is often an indicator of an active or potential infection.

    Many dental problems can go undetected in pets. Your dog may be chewing only on one side of their mouth to avoid mouth pain, but all you see is that their bowl is empty! That’s why it’s so important for you and your Globalvet veterinary team to work together. Ever had a toothache? Then you know just how terrible it can be. Your pet is no different, so preventing periodontal disease, tooth resorption, tooth abscesses, and other dental problems is essential.

    MOST COMMON DENTAL PROBLEMS

    BAD BREATH

    Stinky breath is usually the first sign of periodontal disease in a cat or dog. A significant change in your companion’s breath may indicate an infection or the growth of bad bacteria that could turn into an infection. If Fluffy or Fido could knock you over with their breath, it’s time to have your veterinarian take a closer look.

    TARTAR

    Plaque is a soft, nearly invisible layer of bacteria that builds up on an animal’s teeth and within 24 to 48 hours begins to harden to become tartar. Tartar is brownish-yellow and forms a solid crust on your pet’s teeth. Plaque can be removed just by brushing or polishing, but getting rid of tartar requires special tools like an ultrasonic dental scaler.

    GUM INFLAMMATION

    Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is an infection caused by the buildup of plaque bacteria. It is also exacerbated by tartar buildup. The most common signs are red, swollen gums that bleed easily.

    PERIODONTAL DISEASE

    This disease, which affects the tissues that attach the tooth to the bone (the periodontium), is caused when gingivitis spreads along the root. Gradually the tooth becomes unattached. Outward signs may include loose teeth, receding gums, or the loss of one or more teeth.

    TOOTH RESORPTION

    Resorption is a process whereby the hard tissue in a tooth is destroyed by the cells usually responsible for bone remodeling. A vet may be able to tell on an X-ray that the roots have disappeared and been replaced by bone. The condition is particularly painful if the resorption process continues all the way to the gum. Tooth resorption is most common in adult cats.

    FRACTURED TOOTH

    A cat or dog can fracture a tooth as a result of an accident or from chewing something that’s too hard. If left untreated, a fractured tooth can cause all kinds of other dental problems like infection, abscess, and sensitivity.

    TOOTH ABSCESS

    Tooth abscesses are often caused by a fractured tooth. When an animal’s tooth is damaged, it opens the door to bacteria that invade the dental pulp (the innermost living part of the tooth). If bacteria make it in, the pulp chamber can become infected, causing an abscess at the end of the roots. It’s a painful condition that often goes unnoticed by pet owners.

     

    LOOSE TOOTH

    The most common cause of a loose tooth is periodontal disease, an infection of the tissues that attach the tooth to the bone. But there could be other factors at work, like a root fracture, tooth resorption, or even more serious conditions impacting the bone around the tooth, like a cyst or tumour.

    HOW CAN TOOTHACHE AND DENTAL DISEASE BE PREVENTED?

    AT HOME

    When it comes to your pet’s dental health, prevention is paramount!

    You can do your part at home by providing food and toys that help clean your companion’s teeth. Or even better—brush their teeth with dental products designed specifically for cats and dogs.

    Ask your Globalvet clinic veterinary team for advice. They can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and what products work best. And visit our nutrition store to see the different products we carry.

    AT THE VET

    Despite your best efforts, your pet may still need to see the veterinarian at some point for a dental problem. Many treatments, like complete scaling and X-rays for prevention and monitoring, simply can’t be done at home. But don’t worry—our veterinarians are on your side. Part of their job is to detect dental problems early on to prevent further complications.

    The vet will examine your pet’s mouth, looking for early warning signs of the most common dental health issues. They may also recommend further tests, like a dental X-ray, and a course of treatment based on what they find during the exam, your pet’s age and breed, and what kind of dental care you’re already providing at home.

    GLOBALVET DENTAL CARE

    Professional dental cleaning is much more than just scaling! It’s really a three-step process. First the veterinary team will apply an antiseptic and then scale and polish your pet’s teeth. Then they’ll perform an in-depth examination of your cat’s or dog’s entire oral cavity (mouth) and teeth using special tools like a small probe and dental X-rays. If the exam reveals a dental problem, your veterinarian may perform different treatments, depending on the situation. If you provide proper dental care at home, this last step may not even be necessary. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

    Dental X-rays uses precise imaging to give your veterinarian a complete picture of your pet’s teeth, from crown to root, not to mention the bone and other structures. Remember—half the tooth is hidden under the gums.

    For these procedures, in keeping with our philosophy of pet wellness and PAW certification, your companion will be under general anesthesia and will be given painkillers during and even after the procedure as needed.

    And the Globalvet veterinary team is always there to show you how and when to clean your pet’s teeth and offer recommendations on the best dental care products. Feel free to ask them for advice!

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