Unfortunately, regular dog and cat kibble has little to no dental prevention benefits, even with large kibble diets. This is akin to humans relying on crunchy foods instead of brushing for dental prevention! However, there are special dental diets with kibble designed to ‘scrub the tooth’ which are proven to remove plaque and reduce tartar, such as Hill’s t/d dental diet.
Fractured teeth are common in dogs and cats, but come with serious consequences if not treated early. The fracture often enters the pulp cavity of the tooth causing pain and leading to infection. Early treatment can save the tooth and stop the pain. We can only know if the fracture has entered the pulp cavity with dental radiographs.
While gnawing on a bone (or other hard substances) can remove some plaque, the hazards of bone chewing are numerous. Fractured teeth and stomach/intestine blockages can lead to severe illness and pain. Did you know? The food and drug administration (FDA) in the USA has issued an advisory for pet owners against feeding dogs bones due to their risks.
Myth #7. I use a water additive from the pet store, so they shouldn’t need a dental treatment.
Not unlike ourselves, even if pets have their teeth brushed or use other preventive measures, dental disease ultimately continues (albeit hopefully at a slower rate). This is the same reason we visit our dentist once or more a year to take care of the disease we miss through daily brushing/flossing!
Furthermore, the ONLY water additive for dental prevention awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s approval is HealthyMouthTM
Myth #6. I brush their teeth so they shouldn’t need a dental treatment.
Like in Myth #7, regular dental treatments are needed to prevent dental disease. Periodontal disease is so prevalent in pets; this means that the disease hidden below the gums is what we are most concerned about, as this will cause the damage and pain to the pet. The false sense of a ‘healthy mouth’ with a shiny white tooth surface is misleading.
Did you know? The ongoing disease in the gum pockets will also affect the body’s organs as this infection is allowed to persist and enter the blood stream.
Myth #5. My pet is too young for a dental treatment.
Much like a helmet cannot treat a concussion after the accident has already occurred, preventative measures like brushing will not treat dental disease that has already damaged the mouth. At best we try to salvage the remaining healthy tissues with a thorough exam and treatment under anesthesia, followed by a home-care program.
By implementing a dental prevention plan early, your pet has the best chances of 1) avoiding the damaging effects of infection 2) staying pain-free 3) keeping their teeth lifelong and 4) enjoying a longer lifespan due to reduced bacterial infection.
Myth #4. My pet is too old for a dental treatment.We have seen a rise in life expectancy in both humans and pets due to improvements in healthcare. And just as it would be inappropriate to deny medical care to human seniors due to age, ‘because they are old’ is not a reason to ignore infection or pain in our pets.
On the other hand, there are some serious health conditions that might preclude a pet from anesthesia. A good veterinarian always weighs the risks and benefits for each individual patient.
Myth #3. It’s only bad breath.
The odour from dental disease is from oral bacteria and from the damaged, chronically infected tissue. Bad breath is always a good indicator that a pet is in need of a thorough oral exam under anesthesia and dental treatment.
The cost of dental treatment is proportional to the damage that has occurred. Like many human and pet diseases, the cost of preventing a disease is less than the treatment – both financially and in terms of physiological stress to the patient. This is one of the reasons why vaccines for disease were developed. The cost of having an illness is almost always more than if we use an effective prevention.
Hint: This means that the younger a patient is started on an oral homecare program and has their first dental assessment/treatment under anesthesia, you will incur less and more predictable oral healthcare costs!
Our dogs and cats have evolved to hide signs of weakness and pain. This is a survival tactic; animals push through pain and hide the fact that they do not feel well, otherwise they risk being caught by a predator. They do not know the option of going to the dentist for the awful throbbing pain they have been having in their molar since their last meal. Thus it is quite rare for a dog or cat to stop eating until dental disease has advanced to a severe degree. Unfortunately, by this time they will likely need extensive treatment and care.
Regular oral exams under anesthesia and dental homecare can extend the life of our pets by 2-5 years. Dental health is important for quality and quantity of life– and that is no myth!
For a limited time, schedule your pet in for a FREE dental examination. Receive a dental assessment report card with pictures of your pet’s current dental disease. Take home a complimentary dental starter kit with a plan for a healthier, pain-free pet!