Like humans, dogs and cats are both prone to developing gum disease. This is especially true when pets do not get the right level of dental care at home and from the vet. Thankfully, this condition is both easy to prevent and can even be potentially reversed if caught early enough.
To help protect your pet from gum disease like gingivitis, start by beefing up your knowledge about its causes, treatments, and prevention tips. Then, provide your pet with the right level of daily dental care to keep their teeth and gums in phenomenal shape. Here’s what you need to know.
Causes of Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats
When dogs and cats develop gum disease, actinomyces and streptococcus bacteria are most likely to blame. These bacteria wreak havoc on the teeth as they feed on sugars and release acidic compounds.
As the acids sit on the teeth, day and night, they eat through the enamel and into the dentin and beyond. The presence of bacteria also triggers the immune system to react and release white blood cells.
Throughout this process, the white blood cells release enzymes that slowly eat away at the gum tissue. Gum disease occurs as a result, often starting with visible inflammation around a single tooth. As the condition advances, the gums progressively separate from the teeth, creating unstable attachment points and increasing the risk of tooth and bone loss.
Gum Disease Treatment for Dogs and Cats
By age two, over 80 percent of all dogs already have gum disease and may require treatment, according to researchers at Perdue University. And cats? Up to 90 percent may have gum disease by age four, as reported by Cornell University. If caught before the gums detach from the teeth too much, vets can potentially reverse gum disease in both dogs and cats.
In early stages, vets can treat gum disease with the removal of plaque and harmful bacteria. After having your pet’s teeth cleaned professionally, you will also need to keep them clean with daily brushing sessions. That way, the gum tissue can start to heal and regenerate, restoring its firm attachment to the teeth.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease in Pets.
With a few key prevention steps, you can protect your pet from gum disease altogether. By taking good care of your pet’s teeth, you prevent the bacteria from multiplying and causing damage to the teeth and gums. Here’s how to provide your pet with the right level of care.
Use Specialty Pet Toothpaste
There are many types of pet toothpaste on the market today, but they are not all made equal. To keep the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease at bay.
And the Perfect Pet Toothbrush
Even when properly formulated, your pet toothpaste is only as good as the toothbrush you use. To actively work toward preventing gum disease in cats and dogs, you need to use the best pet toothbrush, which has a 45 degree angled head. The precise angle on the brush head allows you to clean just beneath the gumline, keeping plaque and bacteria out of those areas.
Aim to Brush Daily
Both dogs and cats need to have their teeth brushed once a day to prevent gum disease, cavities, and other dental problems. Daily brushing keeps plaque from hardening into a cement-like substance. Otherwise, plaque likes to firmly adhere to the tooth surface, requiring professional cleaning techniques to remove.
Schedule Professional Cleanings
Even with daily brushing sessions, pets need to have their teeth professionally cleaned once a year as well. During the veterinary dental cleaning, your pet will rest comfortably under sedation as the vet chips away at any existing plaque deposits. They will also perform a full exam and note any areas in need of restoration. This helps prevent your pet from having to deal with any painful dental conditions, as they would likely go undetected otherwise.
With your commitment to providing your pet with excellent daily dental care, you can actively prevent gum disease from developing throughout their life. Your efforts will also help prevent cavities, tooth loss, and other dental issues from cropping up.