Good teeth are so vi­tal

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

DEN­TAL dis­ease is very com­mon in cats and dogs.

Sur­veys show that af­ter the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of tooth disor­ders.

If left unat­tended these may cause ir­re­versible dam­age to the dog’s teeth, gums and jaw bones.

Den­tal dis­ease can be pre­vented by stop­ping the build-up of plaque.

Plaque is a yel­low­ish white de­posit made up of bac­te­ria and de­bris which forms around the sur­face of the teeth.

In time, it hard­ens to be­come yel­low­ish brown tar­tar (some­times called cal­cu­lus) at the base of the tooth which grad­u­ally spreads un­til it may cover the whole of its sur­face.

As well as the vis­i­ble tar­tar, there may be other in­di­ca­tions of dis­ease. Foul breath is very com­mon and the pain re­sult­ing from ad­vanced den­tal dis­ease may cause dif­fi­cul­ties in eat­ing.

If your dog drib­bles ex­ces­sively and some­times this is flecked with blood or shows signs of pain and dis­com­fort such as head shak­ing and paw­ing at its mouth, it may have prob­lems with its teeth.

The tar­tar hid­den be­low the gum line is the main cause of prob­lems.

It con­tains bac­te­ria which will at­tack the sur­round­ing gum tis­sue caus­ing painful in­flam­ma­tion (gin­givi­tis), and in­fec­tion can track down to the tooth roots. Pus may build up in the roots and form a painful ab­scess.

This in­flam­ma­tion wears away tis­sue from the gum, bones and teeth and, as the dis­ease be­comes more ad­vanced, the teeth will loosen and fall out.

Bac­te­ria and the poi­sons they pro­duce can also get into the blood stream and cause dam­age through­out the body in or­gans such as the kid­neys, heart and liver.

In the wild your dog’s teeth would be much cleaner be­cause its diet would con­tain harder ma­te­ri­als than those found in com­mer­cially tinned or pack­aged foods.

Re­plac­ing soft foods with dry or fi­brous ma­te­ri­als will slow the build up of plaque. Brush­ing your dog’s teeth with a dog tooth­brush and tooth­paste is im­por­tant.

If your dog has ad­vanced dis­ease your vet may need to take x-rays of your pet’s head, un­der gen­eral anaes­the­sia.

Any loose teeth will have to be re­moved be­cause the dis­ease is too ad­vanced to be treated.

Your vet may pre­scribe an­tibi­otics be­fore do­ing den­tal work if there are signs of in­fec­tion.

Then your dog will be given a gen­eral anaes­thetic so that your vet can re­move the tar­tar, usu­ally with an ul­tra­sonic scal­ing ma­chine. Fi­nally, your dog’s teeth will be pol­ished to leave a smooth sur­face which will slow down the build up of plaque in the fu­ture.

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