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Published: Feb 29, 2012

Animal lovers recognize February as National Pet Dental Health Month, but a recent report suggests that residents of certain states need to pay closer attention to their dogs' teeth every day of the year. Recent research found that pets in Minnesota had the worst oral health, ZooToo Pet News reports.

The study ranked the top 15 states based on how many pets were diagnosed with dental disease in 2011. In Minnesota, 69 percent of dogs and 73 percent of cats at animal hospitals were diagnosed with dental disease. Utah ranked as the second worse state for pet dental health.

However, Minnesota, Utah and the other states on the list are not particularly out of the ordinary. A study by the American Animal Hospital Association found that about two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the recommended dental care to their pets, and as many as 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. This can lead to other, more serious types of dog and cat illness.

You and your pet can avoid becoming one of these statistics by preventing periodontal disease in your pet. This is the most common form of dental issues and is caused by an accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth, which then causes gum recession. The best way to prevent this is to brush your dog or cat's teeth on a regular basis with pet toothpaste. There are also certain toys and chews that can reduce or delay the build up of tartar.