What is Periodontal Disease?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Blog, Dentistry

By now, you already know how important it is to maintain healthy teeth for your pets. There are many risks of neglecting to do so: bad breath, pain, tooth loss, etc. Perhaps the most serious risk is periodontal disease. But what is it, exactly?

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is no different in pets than in humans. Yes, humans can get it too! Periodontal disease is the destruction of bone, gum tissue, and structures that hold teeth in place. It is caused by bacterial infection that spreads beneath the gumline. As the disease progresses, it destroys the bone around the tooth roots leading to loosened and painful teeth. Dogs and cats with advanced periodontal disease often require oral surgery.

How do I know if my pet has periodontal disease?
Because it exists under the gumline, it is impossible to know if your pet has periodontal disease without being examined by a veterinarian. By the time you would see signs of periodontal disease (i.e. bad breath and loose teeth) there is already significant damage. Additionally, white teeth do not mean that your pet is free from disease. The only way to prevent or identify the early stages of periodontal disease is through regular veterinary dental cleanings. As we explained in our previous blog post, dental cleanings under anesthesia are the only true way to identify and protect against periodontal disease.

How can I prevent it?
Imagine what your own mouth might be like if you never brushed your teeth. Your pet’s mouth is no different. There are two key components to preventing periodontal disease in your pet – home dental care and annual veterinary dental care. Daily brushing is the best way to prevent plaque, calculus, and slow the progression of periodontal disease.

Look back at this month’s blog posts for more information on preventing periodontal disease and other dental health issues.