Meng-Chieh Lee D.D.S., M.M.Sc.

Keeping Your Pets Teeth Healthy

Here at BRAIDC, our main concern is your oral health. We all know that we need to take care of our mouths regularly and consistently for maximum tooth and mouth wellbeing. Did you know that a clean and healthy mouth is necessary for our furry friends as well? To get a better understanding of how to care for our pet’s, we reached out to the Manchester Animal Shelter. Technician Lauren answered a few questions for us, so we can help our cats and dogs keep their healthy smiles!

What are some common causes of dental disease for cats and dogs?

Age, breed, and lifestyle all play a role in dental disease of animals. Plaque/calculus accumulates over time without removal, so as your pet ages you will see build-up. Some breeds of cats and dogs are also more prone to dental disease due to the shape of their mouths, your veterinarian will talk to you about your pet being at a higher risk for dental disease. The lifestyle of your pet can also play a role. Dogs who are tough chewers tend to have their teeth worn down over time.

How can periodontal disease hurt pets?

Bacteria calcifies over time if it’s left on the tooth. Once it turns into tartar or calculus, it allows for more plaque to accumulate. This can lead to gingivitis which causes gums to become swollen and sensitive. If left to worsen, the root of the tooth can become infected. Once periodontal disease advances, the tooth, and surrounding socket begins to rot – causing lots of pain for your pup or kitty! Dental disease can affect the heart, kidneys, and other vital organs so it’s important to keep up with dental care.

What are some signs that your pet has an issue with their oral health?

If your pet is experiencing any of the following, you may want to consult with your veterinarian:

  • Bad breath
  • Unwillingness or refusal to let you check out their teeth
  • Quivering lips
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Noticeable tartar buildup
  • A visible bulge of the crown
  • Visible roots of the teeth
  • Wounds on the face under the eye, lower jaws, or in the mouth
  • Oral ulcers
  • Your pet is rubbing their face on carpets or furniture
  • Noticeable decrease in energy and appetite
  • Snapping, hissing, or growling when you try to touch their mouth

How can we help to prevent these issues?

Regular brushings (AAHA recs once a day) will help to prevent plaque buildup and hopefully minimize any future expensive dental procedures. However, to get under the gum line, your pet will need professional cleaning under anesthesia.

Most 4-legged friends aren’t a fan of having their teeth brushed – is there an easier way to clean them?

There are a bunch of products on the market for this exact reason! Oral rinses, sprays, gels, water additives, and chews can help keep your pet’s mouth healthy. When making a purchase, make sure that the product has the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. Avoid dental chews that don’t bend or break easily, as they can fracture teeth.

At BRAIDC, we want to keep our pet’s teeth just about as healthy as we keep ours. Thanks to the Manchester Animal Shelter and Lauren for taking the time to answer our questions!

Here are a few pictures of Dr. Teoh with her dog Mochi. Other pictures include Penuchi and Frankie Murphy the cat!



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