Dental Health | Care First Blog

Dr. Ryan Thames, DVM at Falls PointeDr. Ryan Thames practices at the Falls Pointe location and gives us several tips for maintaining our pet’s dental health.

That’s right, it’s here!  Once again dental month is upon us.

So don’t delay, it’s time to bring your pet in and have that much overdue professional dental cleaning performed.  While it’s great to dedicate an entire month to your pet’s oral health, and the discount offered this month on professional dental cleanings is nice, putting this important health issue off during the rest of the year can have serious consequences.  As with people, poor oral health in our pets is also closely associated with poor overall health.  Bacteria being introduced to the body via the oral cavity can lead to a number of problems including heart disease and kidney infections.  The longer that gingivitis and periodontal disease are present the greater the chances are that other organ systems become affected.

So what can we do?  The best answer to this question is prevention!

While there are several strategies that can be utilized for dental prophylaxis, the most effective is brushing our pets teeth.  Though this may seem like an arduous task, the reality is that it’s very simple and only takes a few minutes.  The biggest hurdle is turning this activity into an enjoyable habit instead of a daunting chore.  For a great how-to video on at home dental cleaning, click here.

Providing your dog or cat with veterinary recommended dental chews is another great way of maintaining a healthy mouth.  While the chewing motion itself helps to prevent tartar build up, a few products have an antimicrobial solution infused in them which can prevent bacteria from binding to the teeth.  Feeding a high quality dry food can also aid in the prevention of dental disease.  Dry food leaves less residue on the tooth and at the gum line than soft or wet diets do, thus decreasing the amount of material that bacteria have to feed on.  Some prescription diets are specifically formulated to prevent plaque buildup even further.  These diets can be beneficial for many dogs that tend to have an excess amount of buildup regardless of which type of foods they are fed. Other products such as oral rinses and water additives can be used as part of a complete dental prevention plan but should not be relied upon by themselves.

Cat Dental cleaning under anesthesia

An anesthetized cat receives an ultrasonic dental cleaning

The average person brushes their teeth 2-3 times a day.

However most dentists still recommend that you undergo a professional cleaning every 6 months.  This is no different for our dogs and cats.  While they may not need a cleaning every 6 months, even animals that are receiving the best dental care at home will likely need to have their teeth professionally cleaned a few times during their lifetime. This is even more important in those animals that are receiving little home care or have a propensity for developing dental disease. By delaying professional dental cleanings until certain times of the year instead of when they are truly needed, we are allowing the disease to progress both locally and systemically.  More extensive disease means longer anesthetic times and trauma as teeth are more difficult to clean and in many cases may lead to extractions.

Our goal at Care First Animal Hospital is to keep our pets as healthy and happy as possible.

An important aspect of this is by focusing on their oral health on a daily basis.  By brushing their teeth, providing dental chews, feeding a quality diet, and performing professional dental cleanings when they are needed, and not just during certain times of the year, we can make sure that all of our pets are living healthier and longer than they ever have.  So please join us from this point on in making every month your pet’s dental health month.

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