CAUSES of Periodontal Disease
Plaque is a colorless film that contains large amounts of bacteria. If left unchecked, plaque builds up, creating infection, destroying gums and resulting in the loss of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Preventative oral care can reduce the formation of plaque and help maintain proper oral health throughout your pet's life.
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Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following:
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Just like you, your pet needs dental care, too-regular, professional care from your veterinarian and home care from you to keep plaque removed. Daily brushing and feeding special pet foods can help, as well as routine oral examinations, teeth scrapings, and full dental cleanings and polishings with fluoride treatments.
What is Periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Ignoring the condition of your pet's mouth can lead to periodontal disease, tooth loss, and other serious health problems, such as heart, liver, and kidney failure.
- Breed: Periodontal disease is more common in smaller breeds of dogs and certain breeds of cats.
- Age: Periodontal disease is more common as pets grow older.
How We Can Help:
The Animal Center offers full service dental cleaning and polishing procedures that are the same as procedures in a human dental office. We also carry a full line of animal oral hygiene products, including tooth brushes, toothpaste, Virbac CET Chews, Greenie treats, and several other oral health care foods. Our goal is to provide up-to-date information about animal oral health care and offer everything from advanced oral surgery to minor cavity repair to routine dental cleanings and polishings.
SIGNS of Periodontal Disease
All pets are at risk for developing dental problems. Once your pet displays any of the warning signs below, serious periodontal disease may be present. Don't wait for these signs. Start a preventive program of veterinarian-supervised dental care today.
- Bad breath - Tooth loss
- Yellow-brown crust on teeth - Subdued behavior
- Bleeding gums - Abnormal drooling
- Going to the food bowl, but not eating - Dropping food out of mouth
- Change of chewing or eating habits - Swallowing food whole