February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Puppy breath can be cute, but as your pet’s age, that bad breath might be a sign of something more serious. In this article, we’ll go over signs to look for as well as the procedure and importance of scheduling a dental cleaning.

Poor dental care, in the long run, creates diseases not only in the mouth, but also in the heart. Bacteria from the teeth can attach to the valve of the heart and create a condition known as endocarditis.

So what can you do to prevent these diseases?

1. First thing is first: be aware of your pet’s dental health.

Check their mouth frequently for signs of bad breath, swollen gums, visible tartar, or teeth than seem to be loose. If you notice your pet having issues eating food (especially dry food), or yelping after a quick chew on a favorite toy, these are all signs that a trip to the vet is in order.

2. Brushing your animal’s teeth can be a very important step.

We recommend you brush their mouth 2-3 times per week, or even more frequently, if your animal eats a wet food. Dry food helps knock bacteria off of the teeth, which doesn’t happen with a wet diet. As an addition, use a hard play toy: any of the Nylabone products are safe and effective for the reduction of tartar. However, brushing and chewing are only preventative measures, not fixes: if tartar is visible, brushing will do no good.

3. Book a dental procedure at our office.

Before the procedure, it is highly recommended that the animal get blood work done. During this procedure, your pet will be anesthetized and intubated and hooked up to monitors that are closely watched by our veterinary technicians. One of our veterinarians will then use a pressurized water applicator to ultrasonically remove the bacteria from the tooth surface and beneath the gum line. They will also examine each tooth to determine if any extractions are necessary. Extractions can be a result of a loose tooth or fractured enamel that is exposing the root canal or pulp. This can lead to a tooth abscess, if not removed.

4. A dental is a same-day procedure.

You can pick your pet up after they have awoken from the anesthetic, with a brighter, cleaner smile.

If you have any questions, or wish to book a dental exam, please call the office at 215-724-5550.