PERIDONTAL DISEASE

By Dre Eloise Thibault

 

Owners are the first to observe bad breath in their aging cats and dogs.  This bad breath may be the result of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease affects the periodontium, that is, the tissues surrounding the teeth, the gums, the cementum, the periodontal ligament that anchor the teeth to the bones and the jawbones.  Damage to these structures are provoked by the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth.  Plaque is a whitish film on the teeth that is composed mostly of bacteria and the calcification of the latter leads to tartar which can be recognised by its brownish colour.

In addition to the damage of the periodontium such as the inflammation of the gums, the loss of gingival attachment and bone loss, plaque and tartar bacteria can enter the blood stream and affect various organs.

If signs related to periodontal disease are observed (bad breath, difficulty eating, no more chewing on toys /rawhides, lack of energy), an initial dental exam will allow to detect abnormalities that correspond to this disease.  A second exam, performed while the animal is under anesthesia, will make possible a more precise evaluation of the health of the periodontium and the teeth.  Lastly, a dental radiograph will show the presence of bone loss and damage to the dental roots if any.  These information will help us determine if, in addition to a scaling, extractions are needed.  Scaling is a curative, as well as, a preventive measure.  Indeed this procedure will help to restore the attachment of the gums to the teeth and also avoid more consequences arising from the accumulation of tartar on the teeth.   

After the scaling, it is important to prevent the reoccurrence of tartar.  An excellent option for this is regular brushing of the teeth.  Toothpaste and toothbrushes made for animals are available.  Brushing must be done every day or every other day in order to dislodge the plaque before it hardens and becomes tartar. 

Also, certain diets made of larger nuggets and a special matrix are effective in preventing the accumulation of tartar. 

Moreover, for dogs and cats, certain rawhide chews and treats have been approved for dental health. 

Your pet deserves the best, contact us to know the best way for him to prevent plaque and keep a beautiful healthy smile.