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Bad Breath – Is that a problem?

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Dental health is critical to your pet’s well-being. Your veterinarian will take a good look at your pet’s teeth at every wellness visit. We want your pet to have healthy teeth. What are the signs of periodontal disease and what should you look for?

You can help check your dog or cat at home for potential dental issues. They cannot tell us when something is wrong, but there are signs that we can look for.

  • One very common sign of dental disease is bad breath. They may not need just a breath freshener. They may need a dental cleaning!
  • Look for tartar buildup on their teeth, especially on the back teeth.
  • Examine their gums. Gums should be firm and pink. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis.
  • Watch for broken or cracked teeth, which can become infected and can cause a lot of pain.
  • Signs of tooth-related pain include loss of appetite, avoiding play or suddenly ignoring toys, pawing at their mouth, or rubbing their face.
  • Sometimes a dog will have a retained tooth, which is a baby or deciduous tooth that didn’t fall out. This is more common in small dogs and may be a genetic condition. The retained tooth can cause crowding and plaque build-up.

If you notice anything concerning in your pet’s mouth, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have it checked out. Your veterinarian may suggest regular dental cleanings for your pet to prevent loss of teeth and more severe dental issues. These dental cleanings are designed to be less invasive and aimed at preventing the start of periodontal disease—much like we humans practice at our regular dentist appointments. Healthy teeth mean happy pets!

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