Dental disease is the number one diagnosis at small animal clinics around the globe. In fact, many veterinary clinics try to encourage dental cleanings with discounts during Dental Awareness Month in February.
Bad breath is often overlooked as just a nasty but tolerable trait when in fact it can be a sign of something much more serious: dental disease.
Foods high in carbohydrates, like sugars and starches found in many brands of commercial dog kibble, get left behind on the teeth. Without sufficient brushing or chewing to remove the initial layer of plaque, the thick yellow coating begins to accumulate. If not removed, plaque build-up eventually turns to hardened tartar, also known as calculus, which results in gum disease.
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating habits
- Pawing at mouth
- Bloody mouth (or food bowl or water dish)
- Loose teeth
- Yellowing or textured teeth
Periodontal disease can either affect the teeth or gums, i.e. the bones or the tissue, or even both.
- Gingivitis: gum infection of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth; early stages
- Periodontitis: infection below the teeth damaging both the supportive soft tissue and bones; advanced stages
Preventing gum disease is as simple as keeping the mouth clean. Some pets allow their guardians to brush the teeth, but many do not.
Dental procedures may be recommended based on the state of your pet's teeth, and the Ancient Arts team can refer you to a list of board-certified dental specialists while offering holistic recommendations for continued top-notch care of those pearly whites.
Some notable products from our clinic that we suggest for gum and teeth health include:
- Argentyn 23 (silver hydrosol)*
- VetriScience Perio Stix or Perio Bites*
- VetriScience Perio Powder*
- Rx Biotics (for healthy gut bacteria)*
- 1-TDC (for gingivitis and joints!)
- Entero Benefits (probiotics specific for mouth & tartar prevention)
Preventing tooth decay is as easy as providing a well-balanced diet for your pet. Avoiding high-carbohydrate diets can prevent plaque from piling on and providing free food for bacteria. Additionally, chew toys give pets a playful way to autonomously work at their tooth care by scraping away any biofilm build-up.
Raw diets have natural enzymes to break down tartar. Abrasion from chewing meaty bones further scrapes off plaque. That's right--appropriately-sized bones can act as a natural toothbrush! Many pets don't actually chew kibble, but rather scarf it down whole, so their teeth miss out on the abrasive benefits of chewing. High-quality cooked or canned foods are generally still better than kibble for teeth health because they'll have the natural enzymes, even though these diet options are softer.
Be sure to schedule a veterinary visit to discuss proper nutrition and teeth care for your pet.
By maintaining teeth and gums in tip-top shape, you're not just giving your pet a pretty smile. You're also protecting them from kidney, liver, heart disease, and more! The mouth and gums are the gateway to the rest of the body's organs, so treat your pet's teeth with respect!