Oral hygiene is an extremely important thing in a pet’s general health as it could significantly affect it. We all brush our teeth daily, if not twice but at least once. Yet we have to see a good dentist if not twice but at least once in a year. It is strange that we don’t think about our pet’s oral health in the same way.
Different types of tartar and plaques build up on time over time, which leads to creating an environment that will harbor millions of bacteria and germs that are regularly injected into the blood circulation through the tiny capillaries in the gums. The tartar and plaques also cause gum downfall and eventually damage the tooth ligament in the gum which is responsible for supporting and holding all the teeth so firmly in the jaws.
Sometimes the affected tooth can get infected, roots get decayed and bacteria finds its way to the tissue underneath and cause an abscess which could evidently perceive itself with an opening under the eyes and discharge. With pus finding its way out and you notice it only when it actually opens out on your pet’s cheek and your vet will tell you it’s a dental abscess that requires immediate medical and surgical treatment.
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It is imperative to take care of your pet’s dental health on daily basis in a similar manner as we take care of ours. Some small-breed dogs are generally more prone to dental problems.
Can you imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brush them for years or for a couple of weeks? Your pet’s teeth are no different. Until you regularly provide some form of dental care to your pet, you are ignoring an integral part of your pet’s overall health and wellness.
Dental disease is an infection of the teeth, gums, and surrounding structures and is by far the most common major health problem amongst cats and dogs.
It starts with building up plaque. Plaque eventually turns into tarter and quickly forms small packets where an animal’s gums meet its teeth. The gums can separate themselves from the teeth and this allows more bacteria and food to accumulate. This build-up leads to dental disease, which can lead to serious health problems including heart, lung, and kidney disease if left untreated.
Symptoms of dental disease may include:
- Bad breath
- Lethargy or depression
- Poor grooming
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Decreased or loss of appetite and weight loss
- Dropping food from mouth while eating
- Facial swelling
- Discharge from the nose or eyes
- Pawing at the face
- Teeth becoming loose or falling out
The key to managing dental disease is prevention.
First, spend some time handling your pet’s mouth. Turn your finger into a treat for your pet by dabbing something tasty on it like peanut butter, meat dog food, or non-fat curd. Allow him to lick your finger, while you gently rub his teeth and gums. Reapply the tasty treat as required, trying to move his lips aside to expose more of the teeth.
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Gently put one hand under his lower jaw and the other on top and rest your hands like that for a brief time. Gradually work your way towards manipulating his mouth by parting his lips, then gently easing his jaw open.
When that begins going well for a few days, try gently opening his jaw to brush the back teeth. Do not worry if it’s too difficult to brush the inside of his teeth; with most breeds, dental disease is more common on the outside teeth.
End the entire process with a special reward like treating, or showing affection, even if the process didn’t go well. You want your dog to form a positive association with brushing. So, a happy ending may make him more agreeable the next time.
You will need to take your pet to see the veterinary dentist at some point.