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Dental disease in cats and dogs

We all learn as children the importance of looking after our teeth, but what about our pets?

Our pets are usually born with healthy mouths - with bright white teeth and firm pink (or pigmented) gums. However, from an early age, food material, bacteria and saliva are deposited naturally and continuously on the surface of the teeth and gums forming a plaque.

As plaque accumulates, toxins produced by the plaque bacterial cause inflammation of the gum tissue - termed gingivitis. At the same time as this, the plaque may also become mineralised forming calculus (tartar) which is usually very tightly bonded to the tooth surface. This is also frequently accompanied by very bad breath!

If gingivitis is allowed to go unchecked the plaque bacteria will start to penetrate below the gum line, leading to destruction of the bone and other tooth supporting structures - a condition termed periodontitis. This is far more serious condition and, if left untreated, results in tooth loosening and eventual tooth loss.

If you pet's breath leaves a little to be desired, we are here to help! Dental disease is best prevented, but failing that, early diagnosis of problems can make a real difference to your pet's health.  

Preventing dental disease

  • Brush your pet's teeth once a day ideally, for 1-2 minutes (to prevent build up of plaque) with a toothpaste made specifically for pets
  • At the same time check that teeth and gums show no signs of infection (reddened gum margins and hardened tartar)
  • Feeding your pet a dry food can prevent scale deposits and gum disease
  • Have your pet's teeth checked at one of our free Nurse Dental Clinics at least once a year

If you would like our Veterinary Nurse to show you how to clean you pet's teeth, and talk you through preventing dental disease, please do not hesitate to book a free appointment by calling your local surgery.


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