Brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the best things you can do to help your pet maintain their oral health. It cannot replace the need for regular comprehensive oral assessment and treatment under anesthesia, but it can help!
Otto loves having his teeth brushed!
Why is it important to care for your pet’s teeth? For exactly the same reasons it is important to care for your own. The most common disease in pet animals is periodontal (gum) disease. It affects at least 90% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 5 years. Periodontal disease is the result of bacterial infection of the structures that support the teeth. As it progresses, these structures weaken, leading to loose and lost teeth. While this is going on, the animal is fighting a constant battle with the bacteria in the mouth. As the animal chews its food, the infected and inflamed gums bleed, and a shower of very aggressive bacteria enters the blood stream. These germs are carried throughout the body and can cause infection in many areas. Among the diseases that have been documented as associated with periodontal disease are kidney infection and failure, liver infection and failure, heart valve infection and failure, and arthritis. With the immune system constantly challenged by oral bacteria, it is less able to respond to other invasions. Mouths with advanced periodontal disease are sore so animals do not chew their food as well and may have a hard time digesting it properly so can suffer from malnutrition. The overall effect is that quality of quantity of life suffer dramatically. (from “Dental Disease” by Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, DipAVDC, Board-Certified Veterinary Dental Specialist)