Gum Disease or Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases affecting dogs – by the age of 3, 80% of dogs will have some form of periodontal disease!
So what is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is infection of the gums and the other tissues surrounding the teeth. This causes the gums to become red and sore. The infection is caused by bacteria in plaque – a soft, sticky substance that lines the gums and teeth. When plaque builds up, it hardens to form tartar.
If your dog has periodontal disease you will see their gums are quite red and painful looking, they’ll be uncomfortable while eating, they might paw at their mouth and you’ll definitely notice their bad breath!
Periodontal disease ranges from gingivitis which is some reddening of the gums with some plaque covering the teeth, moderate periodontal disease when you will notice your dog has difficulty eating, bad breath and their gums may bleed slightly to advanced periodontal disease which can cause tooth loss, damage to the jaw bone and may even cause issues with the kidneys, liver and heart if the bacteria enters the bloodstream!
This is why it’s so important to look after your dog’s teeth.
What can you do about periodontal disease?
During your dog’s annual health check and vaccination, the vet will assess your dog’s teeth and will be happy to advise you on routine dental care such as regular tooth brushing and diets geared towards caring for the teeth. The vet may recommend your dog comes into us for a ‘dental.’
This is a procedure done under general anaesthesia which will be monitored by one of our registered veterinary nurses. The vet will examine each of your dog’s teeth to assess if any teeth need to be removed. Extractions will be done by the vet. A descale to remove plaque and tartar followed by polishing to smooth the surface of the tooth to delay plaque from building up again can be done by either one of our vets or our registered veterinary nurses.
If your dog is older or weaker the vet may recommend a blood test before the procedure to minimise any risks to your pet.
If you are worried about dental disease, you can book your pet in for a check with one of our vets.