Your Pet’s Smile Matters, Too!

Pets, otherwise known as the cute protectors and furry additions to the family, face some of the same dental problems that we do as humans. In fact, oral disease is the most common major health problem of cats and dogs. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 70% of cats and 80% of dogs exhibit signs of oral disease by the age of 3. Although tooth decay remains the top oral problem that humans experience, pets primarily develop periodontal disease and fractures of teeth.

The same rules of dental disease that apply to us also apply to our furry companions. It may be easy to forget that your pet’s teeth are also a part of their overall health and well-being. Dogs and cats in particular often experience a buildup of tartar, a form of hardened dental plaque caused by bacteria, when their teeth are not cleaned overtime. This buildup of tartar eventually leads to gum irritation and bone loss that exposes the roots of their teeth. The harmful bacteria can then enter the bloodstream and affect systemic organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Your pet may be dealing with pain that you may not have noticed before. Some of the signs of dental disease that your pet may experience can include:

    • Lethargy or inactivity
    • Excessive salivation
    • Decreased or loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Problems eating
    • Mouth sores
    • Facial swelling
    • Discharge from the nose or eyes
    • Pawing at the face
    • Teeth becoming loose or falling out

On the bright side, gum disease and oral health problems can be prevented in pets! According to the American Veterinary Dental College, here is what you may see in each stage of progressive periodontal disease in your furry loved one and steps you can take to prevent and manage dental disease:

1.Stage 0 and Stage 1 Periodontal Disease:

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends regular oral exams with X-rays and dental cleanings at least once a year beginning at the age of 1 for cats and small-breed dogs, and at 2 years old for larger-breed dogs. In addition, daily tooth brushing with a regular soft-bristled human tooth brush is recommended or a minimum of 3-4 times per week. It may take some patience because it can take your pet some time for them to get accustomed to the practice too!

2. Stage 2 Periodontal Disease:

It is important to take your pet to get their teeth professionally cleaned as soon as possible in order to prevent further bone loss and to reduce the gum swelling and infection.

3. Stage 3 Periodontal Disease:

There is now moderate bone loss and gum inflammation. The treatment options at this stage may include tooth extraction or advanced procedures done by the veterinary dentist, along with regular dental home care.

4. Stage 4 Periodontal Disease:

Advanced bone loss greater than 50% and tartar buildup which will require tooth extractions.

Other tips include selecting quality food (look for a Veterinary Oral Health Council  (VOHC)-approved stamp on the bag). Also try to avoid hard toys or treats to help prevent tooth fractures.


Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.


Stages of Pet Periodontal Disease


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