Oral Health Relates to Overall Health

Cat Dental Dog

When bacteria are allowed to grow in the mouth, they don’t just stay there. Because the gums contain a lot of blood vessels, bacteria get into the bloodstream and can travel throughout your pet’s body with any manipulation of the mouth, such as chewing, etc. This is more likely to happen when there is inflammation.

Though their immune system will take care of most of the bacteria, septicemia can occur. What is more important is control of inflammation of the gums, especially long-term inflammation. Inflammation of the gums occurs as a reaction of the body to the presence of oral bacteria. With home care, this inflammation can be controlled, but without it, inflammation can be established and progress, resulting in localized tissue destruction. 

This is bad enough, but the chronic release of inflammatory by-products results in a constant bombardment of the whole body, resulting in many organs being affected by this. If not addressed, this oral inflammation progresses with time and, along with other factors, can affect multiple areas of the body such as the kidneys, heart, liver, joints, etc.

Keeping the bacteria in your pet’s mouth under control can protect their other organs from painful, dangerous, and expensive-to-treat pathology (disease).

Always watch your pet’s eating habits and contact your vet if they miss more than 1 meal (cats) or 2 meals (dogs), or if they are chewing differently than before.

How You Can Help
There are some ways that you can reduce the chances that your pet will develop poor oral health and ensure that gum disease is treated promptly if it occurs:

  • Brush your pet’s teeth daily with a pet toothbrush to clean the oral cavity. Note that if not done daily, very little benefit is gained. Do not use toothpaste made for humans; if you desire, you can buy pet toothpaste, but it’s not necessary. Many cats and dogs will not allow this but keep it in mind as a good habit to cultivate if you have an easy-going pet or if you get a new puppy or kitten.
  • Examine your pet’s teeth every week to 2 weeks, but at a minimum of once monthly. Just take a look and make sure that their gums look pink and that there are no broken teeth. If a pet’s mouth is pigmented black, with gum disease one can observe tissue swelling that can bleed easily (palpation or brushing).
  • Consider giving your pet a supplement such as 1-TDC®, which can help support good gum health.
  • Take your pet to the vet every 6 months for a health evaluation. Part of that evaluation will be an oral evaluation.

If a pet caregiver performs good oral health care for their pet, oral hygiene procedures can be prevented and, at a minimum, their teeth and gums can be kept healthier for a much longer time. This will help in avoiding the extra cost on the animal’s body going under an anaesthetic and your cost of the procedure. 

Furthermore, remember that caring for your pet’s oral health is a year-round responsibility, and should be a daily habit.

Reproduced with permission by Elite Science LLC & Fidos Pawpose LLP.

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