Time to Brush Up! Petplan Pet Insurance Provides Toothy Tips Just in Time for Pet Dental Health Month

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Data reveals rise in dental disease, but prevention can help protect pets’ pearly whites, according to America’s No. 1 pet insurance provider

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The bacteria and inflammation associated with persistent, untreated dental disease is increasingly becoming associated with triggering or exacerbating diseases in other parts of the body.

Poor dental health can be a real kick in the teeth for four-legged friends – and the family budget. This February, No. 1-rated Petplan pet insurance is taking a bite out of dental disease by celebrating Pet Dental Health Month, and the timing couldn’t be better.

According to 2011 claims data, periodontal disease in furry friends is on the rise, ranking 10th on the list of most frequently claimed-for conditions released by Petplan in January. Also up from 2010: gingivitis, tooth abscesses, root canals and cavities.

But good dental health isn’t just about preventing bad breath in our four-legged family members.

“Dental disease doesn’t just affect the mouth – it can cause other health problems as well,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “The bacteria and inflammation associated with persistent, untreated dental disease is increasingly becoming associated with triggering or exacerbating diseases in other parts of the body. Specifically, dental infections have been linked to serious forms of cardiac, kidney and liver disease. My best advice for preventing serious dental issues is to brush your pet’s teeth as often as you brush your own!”

If the thought of brushing your pet’s teeth still leaves a bad taste in your mouth, sink your teeth into these statistics: according to Petplan 2011 claims data, the average cost of veterinary care for periodontal disease was more than $450 per incident, with costs reaching as high as $2,560. With tooth extractions averaging $350 per incident and cavities averaging $600, it’s easy to see how dental disease can take a big bite out of the family budget!

Good oral health habits can go a long way toward keeping pets’ pearly whites pretty and peril-free. To help pets avoid dental disasters, try these tips:

  • Brush, rinse, repeat: A thorough brushing every day will help to diminish the plaque and tartar build-up that lead to more serious dental issues. Flavored pet toothpastes can help transform the regular routine into tasty treat time. Peanut butter and fish flavors? Yum!
  • Chew on this: If your pet balks at the sight of a toothbrush, try a few of the products specially geared toward dental health, including treats and chew toys. Ask your vet about specially formulated dry diets that can help to keep the teeth clean.
  • Polish up with a pro: Regular professional cleanings allow a complete exam of your pet’s mouth while enabling veterinary staff to thoroughly clean and polish the teeth. It also allows them to assess the areas below the gum-line that you can’t see and determine whether there are any teeth that may require additional work or even extraction.
  • Identify issues early: Most pets have high tolerance for oral pain, so keep a sharp eye on your pet’s mouth. Look for shiny white teeth, pink gums and breath that, while maybe not minty fresh, is at least not awful. Brownish gray spots, swollen gums and particularly foul breath may mean biting the bullet with a trip to the vet.

For more tips and information on keeping your pets healthy, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com.

ABOUT PETPLAN
Top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Petplan’s fully customizable policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group, rated A+ by A.M. Best (2010). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Sara McMillan

Bill Tierney
Brian Communications
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