February is National Dental Awareness Month and my local veterinarian just sent me a coupon for $30 off of my dental cleaning. I have a friend named Angel who will be taking advantage of this offer. She doesn’t know it yet but her pet parent thinks her kisses smell bad and she wants to freshen her breath by having her teeth cleaned.
According to the Healthy Pet report, dental disease affects 85% of dogs and cats over the age of 2. Even though there are many pet products out there like toothpaste, oral gels and rinses, pet parents today resist putting a toothbrush or finger brush inside our mouths. If you live in a multiple pet household, be patient while you are waiting in line. You may be able to sneak off and hide if you really don’t like the process.
Here are 9 reasons why you should have your teeth cleaned by a veterinarian:
- Your teeth turn yellow
- Your gums can become swollen or inflamed from plaque and tartar buildup
- You may have gingivitis if your gums are red or bleeding
- You may have oral pain
- You may not be chewing your food very well
- You may not want to eat
- You may be drooling excessively
- You may have loose or broken teeth
- No one wants your kisses anymore
Your pet parent may think that by giving you raw bones, your teeth will stay clean. What they may not realize is that you have cracked or broken a tooth on a bone. Infection can set in and cause you a lot of pain.
Enzymatic chews, rawhides, porkhides, and dental toys may help you keep your teeth clean. Your pet parent may even scale your teeth periodically to clean the tartar. However, it is extremely difficult to get to our back teeth when we are awake, no matter how cooperative we are.
The truth is, studies show that as many as 80% of us dogs and 70% of those *x! cats develop signs of periodontal disease or gingivitis before we reach 3. Bacteria can get into our bloodstream and cause damage to our heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Oral disease is almost entirely preventable.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to have your pet parent schedule a dental appointment for you, then listen to my story. My pet parent scaled my teeth periodically. The vets were never concerned about the condition of my teeth whenever I went in for my exams. Even when I was under anesthesia for repairs after being attacked by other dogs, no one picked up on anything wrong with my teeth.
It wasn’t until I was almost 8 that my vet insisted that it was time for a dental cleaning because I had a strange odor coming from my mouth that was not the smell of cat poo or some other disgusting tidbit that I scooped up on the way into the office.
Periodic dental scalings were not enough to keep the plague and tartar from building up on my teeth.
No one could see that I had a cracked tooth until I was “under” and they could open my mouth as my jaw relaxed.
This is a big improvement!
People can see my pearly whites again!
All I can say is, find a caring veterinarian with an excellent staff and have your pet parent schedule a dental cleaning for you this February National Dental Awareness Month. Then you can celebrate having a beautiful smile once again once your cleaning is done! Have your pet parent leave a comment on your normal dental routine…we’d like to know how you keep your teeth pearly white.
Living in the moment,
Pet Companion to animal lover Amelia Johnson
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