February is dental health month and it's the perfect time to evaluate your pet's oral health. Proper dental care is so important! Not only does good dental hygiene keep your pet's teeth healthy but it affects the whole body. Dental disease can lead to serious health problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys and more. Studies by the American Animal Hospital Association reveal that nearly two-thirds of pet owners don't provide the dental care recommended by their veterinarians.
Dental care should begin when your pet is young. Start by getting them used to having their mouth handled. A veterinarian or technician can show you the proper technique for brushing the teeth. Getting them used to having their teeth brushed early on will make it easier to continue through their life to keep them healthy.
The first sign of dental disease is usually bad breath. You can also lift their lips and check their molars, this is the most common area for tartar to begin to build up. If you notice bad breath, brown tartar build up on teeth, inflamed or red gums, missing or broken teeth, excessive drooling or trouble eating it's time to see a veterinarian. If caught early, you can prevent any further damage to the mouth and save as many teeth as possible.
Unfortunately, dogs and cats won't sit in a dental chair with their mouth open to have their teeth cleaned. For a proper dental cleaning your pet will need to have a general anesthetic. This will allow the veterinarian to perform a professional cleaning and take any necessary x-rays to evaluate your pet's oral health.
Good oral health is an essential part to your pet's quality of life and longevity.