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By Dr. Leslie Sanders
Published: January 15, 2013

Most pets over the age of three have some form of dental disease. Perhaps you've smelled that not-so fresh breath from your cat or dog. Other signs of dental problems include chewing on one side, reluctance to eat, weight loss, and increased salivation.

Cats commonly suffer with a unique condition involving an erosion of the tooth enamel where the tooth meets the gingival or gum. Cats with these “resorptive lesions” can be so painful that their jaws chatter when this area of the tooth is touched on physical exam. Most often the diseased teeth are extracted to eliminate discomfort.

Dogs rarely get cavities like people. Plaque forms on the tooth from bacteria in the mouth. If it is not brushed away, it eventually hardens or mineralizes into tartar or calculus. This is the cement like yellow or brown material you might see on the side of your dog’s teeth. This hard coating on the outside of the tooth causes the gums or gingiva around to tooth to recede, exposing sensitive areas of the tooth. Secondary infections of the gingiva from plaque and tartar result in periodontitis. The infection can spread to the tooth socket and loosen the tooth, it can even spread to the tonsils, pharynx and other organs in the body. Pets with heart disease are in danger of getting endocarditis from dental disease

This process can be slowed or prevented by brushing your pets’ teeth, offering special dental treats, or feeding a specifically-formulated dental diet. Professional dental scaling and polishing is required to clean your pets’ teeth properly once tartar has formed on the teeth.

Freehold Animal Hospital is pleased to offer a 20% discount on all dental cleanings during the month of February!  Please let us know if we can answer any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s dental health!