Effects Of Undetected Dental Disease On Your Pet's Lifespan
Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases affecting our pets, with an 80–89% prevalence in dogs over three years old. However, although many pets have this condition, it often goes unnoticed and may not be adequately treated or prevented.
Although most pet owners consider dental disease a cosmetic problem, it can also be associated with far more severe illnesses affecting our pets' internal organs.
How Does Dental Disease Affect Your Pet’s Health?
The link between oral bacteria and other medical conditions is receiving increasing attention, with many studies identifying links between periodontal disease and cellular abnormalities in the kidney, heart, and liver.
Bacteria escapes from the mouth, enters the blood through inflamed gums or exposed blood vessels in fractured teeth, and circulates around the body.
Here is a detailed look at four main health issues caused by periodontal disease.
Kidney And Liver Function
Kidneys act as filters and clear out all bacteria from periodontal disease. Repeated exposure to bacteria may cause permanent damage to the kidneys. As periodontal disease progresses, bacteria from the mouth can enter your pet's bloodstream and cause inflammation of liver tissue.
The kidneys, liver, and other organs are located deep in the body’s cavities—so damage caused by mouth bacteria may not be readily apparent.
Your vet may need to carry out blood and urine testing, which can reveal changes in kidney and liver function.
Periodontal disease weakens the immune system. Inflammation and bacteria in the mouth can inhibit complex processes involved in producing white blood cells.
Because of this, the immune system can't manage stress efficiently and thus is more susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and fungi—all types of pathogens that cause disease.
The mouth is connected to the respiratory tract via the trachea (windpipe). Bacteria moving from a dog’s mouth into its trachea can cause swelling of airway tissues and restriction, which limits how well an animal breathes.
In addition, bacteria can colonize the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli—all airway structures of the lungs—and cause pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.
Heart murmurs occur when the valves of the heart fail to close correctly, thereby affecting blood flow. They can be caused by mouth bacteria as well as by any other ailment that results in inflammation and damage to the gums.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Gum disease in pets may be common, but your pet does not need to suffer from it.
Regularly brushing your pet's teeth is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease.
Daily brushing with a dog or cat toothbrush is highly recommended. The space between the gum and tooth is what you should target. Finger toothbrushes can be helpful in cleaning hard-to-reach parts of your pet's mouth.
There are also a variety of dental chews and treats that help prevent plaque buildup. These aren't substitutes for regular brushing but can assist in keeping your pet's teeth clean.
Professional Cleaning and Treatment: The next line of defense in the fight against dental disease in pets is a thorough professional cleaning by your veterinarian. This type of treatment involves removing bacteria and other infectious agents from underneath your pet's gums, and it's done under anesthesia.
It is essential to bring your pet in for a veterinary exam if you suspect that he or she has gum disease. Your vet can take a dental impression and do some other tests—including X-rays, and blood tests, to determine whether an infection exists. Once diagnosed, the appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
Midlands Veterinary Practice Is Ready To Help Solve Your Pet's Dental Concerns!
If your pet is suffering from a toothache and requires dental care, trust the team at Midlands Veterinary Practice.
Our highly trained and compassionate staff is excited by the challenge of treating your pet's dental care needs. We'll make sure that your pal has a mouthful of perfect pearly whites. Give us a call to discuss your pet’s dental care needs and schedule an appointment.