By: Jeanne R. Perrone, MS, CVT, VTS (Dentistry) | May 6, 2020
Jeanne discusses the impact of gum disease in pets and what happens if they do not receive sufficient dental care.
She is a founding member and former president of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians – A NAVTA Specialty Group which certifies, trains and mentors credentialed technicians to be specialists in dentistry.
For more answers to common dental care questions click here.
Let’s first talk about gum disease. Believe it or not, you and your pet are more alike than you think. Gum disease in both our pets and ourselves starts with the presence of plaque. You may think we brush our teeth to prevent bad breath, but the brushing disrupts the formation of plaque. Plaque is made up of bacteria and forms right after we brush our teeth. Bacteria is normally present in our mouths and forms in the gum tissue at the base of each tooth called the gingival sulcus. If brushing is never performed, the plaque bacteria becomes more destructive and can start destroying the gums and bone that supports the tooth. These changes happen in stages. The first stage is gingivitis. Red inflamed gums are a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is the only stage that is reversible with a professional cleaning. If gingivitis is not treated, the condition progresses to periodontitis. Severely inflamed gums and bone loss are seen at this stage. The professional cleaning and treatment of affected teeth will help keep the condition under control.
Pets who do not receive regular preventative interventions, invariably will lose those affected teeth to extraction. 80% of dogs and cats suffer from some form of gum disease.