Dental Care Is Key to Your Pet’s Health and Happiness

Sep 28, 2023

Dental care is essential for your pet’s well-being. We want your pet to live free of painful dental issues and diseases. Dental disease is extremely common in pets. The good news is you can prevent or slow down dental disease with routine care at home.

What Is Dental Disease?

Just like in people, plaque sticks to the surface of your pet’s teeth. Plaque accumulates and hardens into tartar. Tartar build-up causes gum inflammation called gingivitis. Gingivitis damages the soft tissue around the teeth. Eventually, infection sets in.

There are four stages—or scores—of dental disease, each increasing in seriousness and danger…

a collage of teeth

Stage 1: gingivitis—inflamed gums, still completely reversible

Stage 2: early periodontis—sore gums and bad breath, still reversible

Stage 3: moderate periodontis—infected gums and pain, may be irreversible

Stage 4: advanced periodontis—chronic infection and major damage, irreversible

We can reverse early stages of dental disease by catching it early and removing plaque and tartar at annual dental cleanings. When dental disease reaches stages 3 or 4, the worst damage occurs and dental surgery to remove infected teeth is often necessary.

For details on professional dentistry, one of our core services, please click here.


The Importance of Regular Pet Dental Care

What can you do to keep your pet in good dental health? Be proactive…

  • Start a weekly brushing routine. Weekly teeth brushing can make a huge difference. Never use human toothpaste. We have special yummy toothpaste just for pets.
  • Treat with chews. Dental chews are very effective against dental disease. They’re delicious and an easy way to give your pet treats! Ask our team for all the options.
  • Feed a dental diet. Your pet’s diet plays a central role in good health. We recommend several brands of dental diets backed by decades of scientific research and study.
  • Get your pet’s teeth examined regularly. A routine wellness visit at Eno Animal Hospital includes an expert assessment of your pet’s oral health and custom recommendations for dental care.
  • Keep an eye out. Between regular check-ups, peek at your pet’s teeth and gums to monitor for anything strange.
a dog with its mouth open
a dog with its tongue out

Is It Ever Just Bad Breath?

Just like with people, the health of a pet’s teeth affects their overall well-being. As dental disease progresses, pets may suffer from root abscesses, mouth ulcers and lesions, gum recession, and tooth loss—or worse. Bacteria from plaque and tartar can enter the bloodstream through your pet’s mouth and cause damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. Chronic dental disease can lead to heart disease, respiratory issues, digestive problems, kidney issues, and even organ failure. The American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA, states that untreated dental disease, if severe, can lead to death. That’s why even “just” bad breath requires medical attention.

Cats Need Dental Care, Too

Dental disease affects cats just as much as dogs, and in some cases, cats are more susceptible to certain dental problems. Without intervention, dental disease only worsens and becomes more painful.

You can clean your cat’s teeth! We recommend using a finger brush and special seafood-flavored toothpaste. We also offer food sprinkles, water additives, and gels.

Please schedule regular dental exams for your pet, and follow through with any recommended dentistry. 


What If My Pet Already Has Advanced Dental Disease?

We can still help! Advanced dental disease often requires dental surgery, which may involve extracting diseased teeth. Remember: Dental surgery to remove diseased teeth leads to better health.

We’ve treated many pets who were lethargic or didn’t want to eat because they were suffering from advanced dental disease. Once they underwent dental surgery and healed, they became happy, perky pets again!

For details on professional dentistry, one of our core services, please click here.

We’re a Fear Free hospital because Fear Free is best medicine.