Most common dental problem affecting our pets – Periodontal Disease

September 14, 2021

Many pets develop dental health problems during their lifetime as they may not be having their teeth brushed regularly. One of the most common dental diseases is the periodontal disease. In a normal and healthy state, a pet’s teeth should be clean and white, and its gums smooth and attached to the teeth. If you notice redness or inflammation, or a build-up of tartar in your pet’s mouth, then they may be suffering from periodontal disease.

The precursor to periodontal disease is an oral condition called gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums, excessive salivation, bad breath, and in more serious cases, loosened teeth. Just like humans, a pet’s mouth is often host to saliva, bacteria, and food particles. Without regular oral cleaning, food remnants will be stuck between the teeth, causing bacteria growth and bad breath. If not taken care of, dental plaque will turn into tartar. Tartar is a very hard mineral deposit, which can prevent oxygen from reaching the external tooth and change the nature of the bacteria around the teeth and gums. This can be quite painful for your pet, developing into gingivitis, or into periodontal disease if the condition is not treated.

Teeth get their nutrients from blood vessels in the pulp cavity, and periodontal disease generally occurs in the gingival surrounding the teeth. To prevent this painful condition from happening, pet parents can do the following:

Go to the vet for a comprehensive dental check and cleaning

Depending on your pet’s oral health, they should get their teeth cleaned by a vet at least once a year. However, keep in mind that a pet will be put under anaesthesia when getting professional dental cleaning. Therefore, it may be best to reduce the number of trips to the vet by having a daily oral care routine for your furry one.


1. Toothbrush and toothpaste for pets

When choosing a toothbrush for your pet, check that the shape of the brush is appropriate for your furry one’s mouth. There are also pet-friendly toothpaste available; do not use your own toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth as they likely contain foaming agent, which can be harmful if your pet swallows too much of it.

2. Tooth wipes and rinse

Some pets will be more resistant to teeth brushing than others, particularly breeds with softer and more sensitive gums. They may be more willing to teeth cleaning using wipes instead. Wiping the surface of a tooth can remove dental plaque, but this method may not be able to clear food remnants stuck between the teeth. Therefore, brushing is still the better option if your pet will tolerate it. Like for us, pet dental care products can also be used daily.

3. Plaque prevention gel

For most pet parents, brushing their pets’ teeth every day is a challenge. Plaque prevention gel is a much more convenient option to make sure your furry one’s oral health is in check. The gel can be applied to the surface of the teeth using a cotton swab every week (can be applied daily to areas with serious inflammation). Regular use can prevent dental plaque from clinging on the teeth.

4. Dental care bones

Dog dental bones are covered with substances that can help remove plaque and food stuck between the teeth when pets chew on it. For this method to be effective, a pet parent needs to hold the bone and rotate it as their doggo chews at it.

When choosing a dental bone, pick one that’s apt for the size of your pup. Also, make sure not to purchase one that is made from material that is too hard, or it could damage your dog’s teeth! Test it by scratching on a bone’s surface with your fingernail. If your nail leaves a mark, then the bone is not overly dense and should be fine for your pet.

5. Kibble

Dry food encourages more friction between teeth, which is conducive to removing plaque and exercising the gums. Wet food tends to get stuck between the teeth more easily, leading to higher chances of dental problems. In addition, pets should never eat the foods we eat, such as rice, for the same reasons why we should reduce our pets’ wet food intake for the sake of their oral health.

When choosing snacks, pet parents can consider dental treats. An appropriate serving of dental treats daily can reduce dental plaque and tartar by up to 69 percent. To prevent pets from choking on small treats, pet parents should be attentive of their furry ones during snack time.

6. Prescription dental diet

Pet food prescribed for dental health attacks dental plaque through various means. For one, dental prescription food is relatively coarse and bigger in size, prompting an animal to spend more time chewing. They also have higher fibre content and are harder to break down, all helping reduce the amount of plaque.


How you can perform a basic dental check at home

Inspect the surface of your pet’s teeth (especially teeth in the back of the mouth), the inner side of the teeth, and the tongue. Back teeth tend to be where tartar accumulates the most. If a pet has a serious build-up of tartar, then they should be taken to the vet clinic and have their teeth cleaned and polished professionally, Once the tartar is removed, caring for your pet’s dental health will be much easier if routine cleaning is done.

Even if a pet doesn’t have foul-smelling breath, they should still regularly undergo a full dental examination at the vet, as dental diseases can sometimes be hard to detect. If bad breath persists despite regular dental care, then the cause may be a gastrointestinal condition. It’s best to have your vet conduct a check and diagnose the problem, and treat your pet accordingly.

The info in this post is provided by 9Lives Veterinary Emergency Hospital (VEC) Kennedy Town

About VEC

9Lives Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC) provides 24-hour emergency and inpatient services for pets. The centre is equipped with advanced facilities, including equipment for CT scans, X-Ray, ultrasound, endoscopy. VEC also provides surgery and treatments, including: Internal medicine, acupuncture, laser treatment, vaccinations, comprehensive blood and urine tests, and more.

VEC Contact : 2334-2334