by Dr. Amanda Weiss published February 1, 2016
Every February the AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month to help raise awareness for the importance of oral care for our pets. Please check out the information in this blog as well as the links below.
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in adult dogs and cats and most will start to have signs by the time they are only three years old. It is important for all pet owners to become aware of this condition and what you can do to help prevent it.
Periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums and other tissues surrounding the teeth. It is caused by the bacteria found in the plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. Plaque starts to build up on teeth in just 4-12 hours after brushing. If it isn’t removed it can harden into tartar in as little as 48 hours. Tartar becomes calcified on the teeth and is much harder to remove. You may be able to see some tartar on your pet’s teeth already. Keep in mind there is probably even more below the gumline where it is causing most of the damage.
Prevention is a big part of keeping your pet’s mouth healthy. Because plaque can harden into tartar in 48 hours it is important to try to remove the plaque daily. The best way to do this is by brushing your pet’s teeth every day or at least a few times a week (link below). If brushing is not an option, daily chewing activities can also help to remove the plaque. Some products have gone through trials and are proven to help with plaque or tartar, they are awarded a seal by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (link below). These products are labeled with the VOHC seal and include diets, treats, water additives and oral sprays/gels.
Please be careful not to let your pet chew on things that are too hard. This includes cow hooves, dried bones and hard nylon products. These products have been associated with fractured teeth. It is important to monitor your pet while chewing to be sure they are not swallowing large pieces.
If you aren’t sure if your pet has periodontal disease please feel free to schedule an appointment or join us at one of our Dental Health Events where we offer free dental exams for cats and dogs. Check out our home page for more information and our schedule- They are listed along the right under upcoming events.
Thanks for reading and happy brushing!

Resources including a link to a video on how to brush your pet’s teeth provided by the AVMA:

List of products with the VOHC Seal:

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