Austin, Texas (PRWEB) February 04, 2015
February marks National Pet Dental Health Month, a time for pet owners to recognize the importance that dental health has on a pet’s overall well-being. Just as people maintain oral health by brushing daily and visiting the dentist, pets should receive at-home dental care in addition to an annual cleaning from a veterinarian. Pets often try to disguise pain, so even if you’re not seeing signs of discomfort in your pets, an annual dental exam may expose hidden problems.
The common complaint of bad breath in a pet can be a sign of dental disease. Without proper dental care, plaque builds up and hardens, causing periodontal disease and leading to damage of the gums, ligaments and bones surrounding the teeth and eventual tooth loss. Also, the bacteria in plaque can lead to infections that enter the bloodstream and airways and that are potentially associated with infections and inflammation in other organs, such as the heart valves, lungs, liver and kidneys.
The most effective dental cleaning is one performed by a veterinarian under anesthesia. Some establishments may offer anesthesia-free services that might help remove tartar and plaque from teeth; however, it is nearly impossible to perform a thorough dental cleaning and obtain X-rays on an awake, squirming and likely nervous pet.
“As a veterinary dental specialist, I strongly believe that a lifetime of good dental care—both home care and professional care—can improve the health and quality of life of pets as well as their lifespan,” said Heidi Lobprise, DVM, DAVDC, a TVMA member and board-certified veterinary dentist who practices at Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Flower Mound, Texas. “Veterinary dental care is a like a team sport with the pet, pet parent, veterinarian and technician or veterinary nurse all playing a role.”
In addition to a yearly professional treatment, pet owners should provide home dental care for their pets. Your veterinary team can help determine the best options for home care for you and your pet based on your pet’s disposition. Daily brushing with toothpaste designed specifically for dogs or cats is ideal, but there are other options for pets who won’t tolerate brushing, such as dental chews, oral solutions and water additives. For more information on pet dental health, visit https://www.texvetpets.org/article/basic-dental-care-for-your-pet or watch TVMA’s National Pet Dental Health Month video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CP7hF4TcRI&feature=youtu.be.
About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association
Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit http://www.tvma.org.