When it comes to disease, we always prefer prevention
When your four-legged furry friend lunges for a big hug, does the smell of their breath knock you flat on your back? If this is true it’s time for a dental checkup.
Normal dog breath should smell like normal human breath – it shouldn’t really smell like much at all! If your dog has bad breath, you are smelling periodontal infection. If dental hygiene s poor, bacteria in the mouth build up, forming a ‘scum’ called plaque. You have probably seen the commercials on television about how plaque and tartar lead to gingivitis (inflamed gums). However, this is not the full story. Periodontal infection leads to so much more than just bad breath and bleeding gums.
When plaque is left undisturbed, it starts to spread down below the gumline, and then bad breath become the least of your dog’s problems. Toxins and inflammation, hidden from view, lead to progressive destruction of the bony sockets supporting the teeth, resulting in permanent bone loss and damage to the jaw. Eventually, the teeth may become loose and fall out, but in some poor dogs the jaw is weakened so much that it actually breaks with minimal force (even catching a ball!).
If the threat of local infection and discomfort isn’t enough, the effects of oral infection on the rest of the body are also pretty scary. When the gums become inflamed, bacteria invade the bloodstream through damaged, leaky blood vessels, and spread through the body to distant organs, such as the liver, heart and kidneys. In people, periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and premature birth of low-weight babies. While no large scale studies have been performed to prove the link between oral infection and other diseases in dogs (funding can be harder to find in canine than human research), it’s arguable that systemic spread of bacteria is having harmful effects on our pets as well.
A dental check up may highlight the need for cleaning, polishing, tooth extraction or even just a change in diet. Remember, your pet will look and function better and also live longer with healthy teeth and gums. It’s true that a high percentage of ageing pets suffer from some degree of periodontal disease.
Anaesthesia for your pet
During every dental procedure, whether your pet is having a cleaning or an extraction, we administer general anaesthesia so that your pet will have no anxiety or pain and to allow us to do the job right. Pain medication, as well as a local dental block, is given to ensure additional pain relief before, during, and after all procedures.
We might advise certain blood tests before anesthesia, but only after discussion with you. We take cost into account when advising these tests. Your pet’s heart rate and temperature are carefully monitored throughout the treatment and a skilled veterinary technician will be with your pet during the procedure and recovery.
Cleaning teeth should be part of your routine
Regular dental prophylaxis (cleaning and polishing) helps assist in keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. The teeth are ultrasonically scaled, removing tartar and calculus. The final step is polishing so that bacteria have no place to hide.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth at Home
Having your pet’s teeth cleaned here at Noosa District Animal Hospital is great, but you can be a key member of your pet’s health care team by performing the most important follow-up to a professional cleaning at home — brushing your pet’s teeth. If you have any questions or concerns about how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask any member of our staff.
Because brushing can be a challenge, we can also recommend water additive and special chewies that can help clean the teeth.