Dental Disease in Pets
Allegheny Veterinary Service
Dental disease is not just about bad breath! Dental disease is painful! 80% of dogs and cats over 3 years of age have dental disease. Infections from poor dental health can cause permanent damage to the kidneys, liver and heart. Many pets will continue to eat, even while painful, and show little sign of their poor dental health. Our goal is to treat dental disease at Grade 2-3 to prevent permanent damage to the internal organs that occurs when dental disease progresses to Grade 4.
Effects on the Body
Healthy mouth allows pet to eat without pain.
Grade I – Gingivitis
Redness on gumline and plaque forming.
Grade 2 – Early Periodontitis
Tissue swelling and loss of tooth attachment. Gums may bleed. Mouth starts to get painful and odor is noticeable.
Grade 3 – Moderate Periodontitis
50% of the attachment of tooth is lost. Roots are exposed. Gums often bleed when probed. Bad breath is present. Pain associated with the teeth may start to change the pet’s behavior.
Grade 4 – Advanced Periodontitis
Teeth may fall out. Usually blood and pus are present. Bacteria spread through the body via the bloodstream and can damage the liver, kidneys, and heart.
Recommendations to Slow Periodontal Disease Progression
It is important to note that dental disease is progressive and will worsen over time. Prevention and maintenance are key to ensuring longevity of the teeth. We also recommend the following to help slow progression of disease. Please note that these recommendations offer no help in cases of severe disease, such as Grade 3 and Grade 4. Patients with Grade 3 & Grade 4 periodontal disease will require extractions and aggressive therapy.
• Teeth Brushing: Brushing daily with a pet toothpaste and tooth brush or dental wipes is very beneficial in preventing tartar accumulation.
• Diet: Feed a dental health diet such as Hill’s T/D or Royal Canin Dental. These diets are designed to help remove tartar from the tooth as the patient eats.
• Treats: Feed dental treats such as Oravet Dental Chews. Not all treats actually benefit oral health. Use only treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
• Oral Rinse: Use an oral rinse such as Hexarinse.
• Water Additives: You may add solutions such as Aquadent to the drinking water.
What is the Veterinary Oral Health Council?
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is made up of board-certified veterinarians with advanced certification as dentistry specialists and dental scientists. These council members are appointed by the president and Board of Directors of the American Veterinary Dental College. The council reviews submissions and recommends whether items are awarded a seal of approval from the VOHC.
What Does the VOHC Seal Mean?
The VOHC Seal indicates that a pet dental product has met pre-set standards that prove that it slows dental plaque and dental tartar accumulation on teeth. Approval indicates that the product has undergone trials created by the VOHC. There are many products on the market that make a claim “to improve dental health”. We encourage you to find product with a VOHC Seal.