Veterinarian Column: Periodontal disease and dental care, diseases that are dangerous if left untreated

by Alice's Dog & Catスタッフ

June 4th is Tooth Cavity Day, and the week from June 4th to June 10th is all about dental and oral health habits. Please take this opportunity to think about the dangers of periodontal disease and the need for dental care.

The most common dental disease in dogs and cats is periodontal disease. It is said that many dogs and cats over the age of 3 have periodontal disease. By the way, the oral cavity of dogs and cats is alkaline, and Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, prefers an acidic environment, so cavities in dogs and cats are very rare.

■What is periodontal disease?

Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column: Periodontal Disease and Dental Care

It is a disease that causes inflammation of the gums and periodontal tissues due to the proliferation of bacteria contained in plaque and tartar.

Occurrence and progression of periodontal disease

- Plaque, such as food residue and bacteria, adheres to your teeth 6 to 8 hours after eating. This can be removed by brushing your teeth.

- Tartar is formed when attached dental plaque and minerals in saliva combine and become calcified. This changes within 3 to 5 days after plaque is deposited. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing, so scaling is necessary.

- If inflammation in the gums and periodontal tissues is left untreated, strong bad breath, bleeding from the gums, and loose or falling teeth may occur.

・As periodontal disease progresses, pus accumulates in the root of the tooth, forming an apical abscess and fistula in the skin, oral cavity, and nasal cavity.

Complications of periodontal disease

- Bacteria infected from the gums enter the bloodstream, causing life-threatening complications such as sepsis and heart disease.

- In small dogs, mandibular fractures may occur due to alveolar bone resorption due to periodontal disease.

Treatment of periodontal disease

The fundamental treatment consists of removing plaque and tartar.

・Procedures under general anesthesia include scaling (removal of tartar), root planing (removal of subgingival plaque and tartar, and cleaning of the root surface of the tooth), and curettage (removal of inflamed tissue within periodontal pockets). (removal) and polishing (polishing the tooth surface to make it difficult for plaque to adhere).

・If approximately 2/3 of the periodontal tissue is destroyed, restoration is difficult and tooth extraction is indicated.

・Scaling treatment without anesthesia can reduce tartar on the tooth surface, but it cannot treat subgingival areas, so it is not a fundamental treatment.

Prevention of periodontal disease

Preventing periodontal disease is by performing home dental care and removing plaque. Plaque turns into tartar in 3 to 5 days, and tartar cannot be removed by brushing your teeth. It is important to remove plaque before it turns into tartar.

■Dental care

Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column: Periodontal Disease and Dental Care

Many children hate brushing their teeth. It is a good idea to use a combination of fun things such as chewing gum or toys. If your child has advanced periodontal disease, he or she may be reluctant to have his or her mouth touched. Don't overdo it, use liquid dental care or supplements, and brush your teeth after treatment.

  • dentifrice

The best way is to brush your teeth. Let's do it every day. If you find it difficult to do it every day, do it once every 2-3 days, before plaque turns into tartar.

At first, get your dog used to having his mouth touched, and once he gets used to it, use gauze or a toothbrush to brush the inside of his mouth. You need to get your dog used to it from an early age.

You may also want to use veterinary toothpaste.

  • dental gum

Chewing dental gum helps remove plaque. When giving, be sure to watch carefully so you don't swallow the whole thing. Also, if the gum is too large or too small, there is a risk of swallowing it accidentally. Choose the size that suits your weight.

  • dental toys

Chewing while playing helps remove plaque. Anything that is too hard can cause damage to your teeth. Also, if you can bite off something, you will accidentally eat it. Give your dog dental care toys that are not too hard and won't break off.

Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column: Periodontal Disease and Dental Care

  • liquid dental care

There are types that can be mixed with drinking water and types that can be sprayed into the mouth. This is used to improve the oral environment.

  • supplement

There are probiotic (oral good bacteria powder) supplements available. By feeding the good bacteria in the oral cavity, it has the effect of suppressing the bad bacteria in the oral cavity.

It is recommended because it can be easily used by children who cannot brush their teeth or who are too old to undergo dental procedures under general anesthesia.

Periodontal disease is not just a disease that affects the oral cavity, but is a frightening disease that can cause systemic disease if it progresses. Don't leave periodontal disease untreated, take appropriate treatment at a veterinary hospital, and provide thorough home dental care.