This post was written by our own Dr. Mel Cirinna and originally posted on our sister hospital's blog at www.woodlawnvet.ca. Your dog's teeth are very important, and we wanted to share the story of Cora here, too!
Can you guess how old the owner of these teeth is?
“Cora” is a surprising 8.5 years old with the teeth of a young pup! Her beautiful teeth speak volumes about her overall health. Good oral hygiene is extremely important to the health of our pets. Without proper oral hygiene plaque will begin to accumulate on the teeth. Over time the plaque hardens into tartar. The presence of plaque and tartar accumulating below the gum line leads to inflammation of the gingiva called gingivitis. As the level of dental disease progresses we can have attachment loss which appears as loose teeth, a receding gum line and pain. In addition to the oral signs of dental disease, dental disease can also lead to a condition known as bacteremia where bacteria are found within the blood stream. The presence of bacteremia can result in disease of the heart, kidneys and liver which are all involved in moving and filtering the blood. We can help our pets to have great oral health by following a good home oral hygiene routine.
Oral hygiene routines include brushing and a prescription dental diet. Cora’s teeth are brushed on a regular basis using toothpaste specifically formulated for pets. The toothpaste even has a great chicken flavor that she loves! Brushing should last about 1 minute and be performed on a daily basis. While it is easiest to train a puppy or kitten to accept brushing, older dogs and cats can also learn to enjoy this grooming routine. In addition to regular brushing, Cora also receives a prescription dental diet. Prescription dental diets work as both a toothpaste and a toothbrush. Many pets swallow their kibble whole with minimal to no chewing action. Prescription dental diets are formulated with large kibble that cannot be swallowed whole. Pets have to chew the kibbles which act as a “brush” to remove plaque from the tooth surface. Prescription diets also contain enzyme formulations to prevent plaque from sticking to the tooth surface, similar to toothpaste.
We encourage you to bring your pet in for an oral health assessment so we can help your pet to have pearly whites just like Cora.