Integrative Pet Vet column: Oral health is essential for everyone
Unpleasant breath is more than just bad breath. There is a slew of health problems that might be linked to poor breath. These problems can range in severity from mild to severe, with severe indicating that the problem is likely to worsen. In dogs and cats, periodontal disease is the most frequent health issue. By the age of three years, it is believed that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have dental disease. Dental disease affects the mouth and can lead to heart, kidneys, and liver problems, among other organs.
Because of the importance of dental health in pets, February has been designated as National Pet Dental Health Month. This emphasizes the need for dental care in pets and the negative health consequences of untreated tooth disorders. Furthermore, it draws attention to the fact that issues such as periodontal disease are considered preventable.
Periodontal disease occurs when the gums and tissues that support the teeth become inflamed and infected. Gingivitis, or gum irritation, develops first. This manifests as swollen, red gums that bleed easily. Periodontal disease develops when gingivitis advances and becomes more severe. As the connecting periodontal ligament is compromised, the gums can begin to peel away from the tooth, and the bone around the tooth root can begin to break down. The tooth eventually becomes movable and can be lost. Bacterial infection is the most common cause of inflammation.
Bacteria contribute to plaque production when they stay in touch with teeth for an extended period. This plaque hardens into calculus over time (also sometimes called tartar). Plaque and calculi in contact with gum tissue below the gum line are part of the trigger that accelerates periodontal disease and makes cleaning more difficult. Bacterium triggers an immune response that aids in the battle against the bacteria. Unfortunately, the immune reaction might cause normal tissue around the tooth to deteriorate. The intensity of the bacterial infection and immunological response determine the extent of tissue loss.
Breath odor, red and swollen gums, increased calculi, gum recession, exposed tooth roots, tooth loss, uncomfortable chewing, and reduced appetite are symptoms of periodontal disease. In some small breed dogs, bone loss can be significant, and fistulas (tracts) that attach to the nasal sinus can occur. Mouth infections can increase the chance of issues in other regions of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. There is evidence, for example, that heart disease and periodontal disease are linked. With moderate to severe periodontal disease, the risk of cardiac inflammation is predicted to be six times higher. Investigations have revealed the same bacteria growing on sick heart valves that may also be detected in the mouth, demonstrating the link.
Regular dental care can help to prevent and control periodontal disease. Brushing your teeth at least once a day is the most obvious method. Brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended by some, whereas brushing at least three times a week is recommended by others. This is easier said than done for sure, pets. Ideally, pets should be taught to tolerate tooth brushing from a young age.
On the other hand, even older pets may be willing to wash their teeth. When it comes to teeth brushing, it's crucial to start slowly. Be cautious around sore parts of the mouth. Before beginning teeth cleaning program, your veterinarian should address these troublesome regions. Certain meals specialized for dental difficulties, some types of chews, oral rinses, and food additives are among the other alternatives for reducing plaque and calculi. Each of them can have a wide range of outcomes, so it's crucial to keep a close eye on things and consult with your veterinarian. Probiotics for the mouth have been shown to improve oral health. This is similar to the digestive tract advantages of probiotics. Herbs like Boswellia have been demonstrated to lessen periodontal disease-related inflammation. Vitamins A and C can help to keep gum tissue healthy. Seaweed extracts may aid in the prevention of plaque and calculi development.