Four out of five pets are living with infection and pain from dental disease, odds are your pet could be one of them. Have you noticed your pet avoiding their favorite chew toy, reluctant to eat dry kibble, pawing at their mouth or bad breath? These are all signs of Periodontal disease. The unpleasant odor thought to be simply “bad breath” is evidence of a potentially dangerous health risk. Periodontal disease starts with bacteria called plaque, which sticks to the tooth’s surface. Plaque hardens into calculus, or tartar becoming securely attached. Bacteria secretes under the gum line contributing to tissue damage. As the disease progresses, bone begins to decay causing tooth loss and severe discomfort. Fortunately for your pet periodontal disease is preventable. Regular examinations by our doctor can reveal early signs of the disease. Our doctor may recommend routine dental cleanings followed by an at home dental program. At River Mill Animal Hospital, a professional cleaning includes: a full oral exam, gum recession measure, ultra-sonic scaling to remove plaque and tartar, polishing to smooth the tooth’s surface and a fluoride treatment to protect from bacteria. After a professional cleaning it is important to keep your pet’s teeth sparkling. Regular brushing prevents plaque from accumulating and forming into tartar. Keep sessions short, offer plenty of praise, and use only animal toothpaste. Pet formulated paste are safe to swallow and flavored to appeal to their taste buds. Human toothpaste is toxic to pets, and should never be used. If you don’t have time to brush? Tartar control treats are a great way to reward your pet and help clean their teeth. One tasty treat a day is equivalent to a manual brushing. Your pet’s dental health is important to us, even if you think your pet’s teeth and gums are fine we can offer expert advice to help you keep them that way. Please call us today to discuss your dental care needs and how we can help.