Periodontal disease is a disease of the supporting structures of the teeth. These supporting structures
include: The gingiva, the periodontal ligaments anchoring the tooth, and the alveolar bone in which the
tooth is anchored. This is the most common tooth disease in our pets. The percentage of animals over
the age of 5 years old that develop this disease are 90% in dogs and 70% in cats. The major cause is a
bacterial infection due to the development of plaque. Bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth loss are all
signs of poor dental health. Periodontal Disease is not the only disease our pets are at risk of; when
ignoring their dental needs. They are susceptible to other diseases such as:
Diabetes Complications: Pets with Diabetes are at a higher risk of dental disease. Unfortunately the two
go hand in hand. The Inflammation and infection associated with dental disease can affect blood sugars
in the body. This decreases their body’s ability to regulate insulin which then makes it extremely difficult
to manage their overall health.
Heart Disease: Endocarditis is one of the most common effects found in patients with stage three
periodontal disease. This is caused by bacteria from the mouth entering the blood stream and then
settling in the heart valve. This can lead to permanent damage in the heart tissue, which can sometimes
lead to heart failure.
Liver abscesses: When bacteria from the mouth are swallowed, they must be filtered through the liver.
This can lead to serious infections, without long-term treatment this can be fatal.
Osteomyelitis: Is a bone infection that can be extremely painful. The bone underneath the teeth
becomes brittle and can break the maxilla or mandible. This can be more common in smaller breeds as
they are more prone to dental disease. These breeds include but are not limited to: Yorkshire terrier,
Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, and Dachshund.
The most effective way to reduce the risk of dental disease in your pets is to maintain a solid oral
hygiene regiment. Regular teeth brushing along with a dental maintenance diet and dental health water
additive, sold by your veterinarian, are great ways to maintain and prevent dental disease. Discuss the
benefits of a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment plan (COHAT) with your
veterinarian the next time your pet is in for their annual check-up!