Does your pet have bad breath? This could be due to dirty teeth. Plaque and bacteria can build up on your pet’s teeth especially if food has collected. This can cause infections which can result in ulcers, gingivitis (infection of the gums), periodontal disease (damage to tissues around the tooth) and loose teeth. When the mouth is very painful it makes it difficult to eat. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the blood stream and can cause infections in other organs such as the liver and kidneys as well.
Animals can’t brush their own teeth. In the wild they ate a diet which did not stick to their teeth and so did not have the same problems as our pets. So what can we do to help them?
Firstly we would suggest brushing the teeth once a day using a medicated toothpaste. We have specific toothpastes such as Petdent oral gel, especially for gum disease and poultry flavoured (for dogs) and fish flavoured (for cats) enzymatic toothpastes which will help to breakdown food and kill bacteria on the teeth. The toothpaste also changes the pH in the mouth to counteract the acid produced by the bacteria. When cleaning the teeth focus on the outside of the teeth as the tongue will usually keep the inside of the teeth clean. It is also important to clean up to the gums as that is where the food collects.
If teeth cannot be cleaned we would recommend a dental scale and polish. We have specialised orthodontic equipment with an ultrasonic scaler, polisher, fibreoptic drill and mouth spray. The scaler removes the plaque by minute vibrations whilst spraying water to cool and clean the teeth. If the tooth is damaged and needs to be removed we use the fibre optic drill which enables us to view the teeth whilst working on them. The drill also has a spray facility to clean and cool the tooth we are working on so it is not damaged by the heat.Teeth with more than one root that have to be extracted are split into sections and one root removed at a time.
Once the surface of the tooth is clean we use a polisher and special dental paste to make the outside of the tooth smooth and so less likely to collect more plaque. Sometimes clients may want to save damaged teeth and we can refer pets to a dental specialist for procedures such as capping. After every dental the mouth is rinsed out with a disinfectant. We have to use general anaesthesia for dental procedures but usually patients are only in for a day.
Follow up care would involve brushing once a day, dental sticks or a specific tooth cleaning diet such as T/D by Hills. This diet is a fully balanced good quality diet that is rich in fibre which helps to clean the teeth every time they bite into the biscuits.
If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at www.tiptreevets.co.uk or www.willows-vets.co.uk