AAHA Dental Care Guidelines
Why Dental Care Is Important
Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked areas in pet health.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that takes hold in progressive stages.
How It Starts and Progresses
Periodontal Disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attaches to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red, swollen and to bleed easily. Plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, and if left unchecked, infection forms around the root of the tooth and spreads to organs through the bloodstream.
In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they start with proper dental care.
For more information on periodontal disease in pets, visit www.healthypet.com