The eyes may be the window to the soul but the mouth is the window to overall health!
Here are some interesting facts about your pet’s oral health that you may not have known
1. Dogs have 42 adult teeth; Cats have 30 adult teeth
2. Dogs and cats can begin to lose their baby (deciduous) teeth at 3-4 months of age and should lose all remaining baby teeth by 6-8 months of age (although certain breeds are known to take longer).
3. Retained deciduous (baby) teeth are more common in pets with overbites, under bites and poor teeth alignment in which the baby teeth are not in a normal position to be pushed out when the adult teeth erupt.
4. If retained baby teeth are not removed at a young age they can cause dental pain, irritation of the gums, and accelerate the formation of tartar on surrounding teeth.
5. Plaque is the soft, “slimy” layer of material found on the tooth surface and is composed of salivary proteins, decayed food materials and bacteria.
6. Gingiva is the technical term for ‘gums’
7. Chronic infection of the teeth, related to increased calculus formation, causes an increase in the body’s bacterial load which can cause damage in other body systems such as the sinuses, heart, liver and kidneys.
8. A common site for bacterial buildup in the heart is on the mitral valve or left atrial/ventricular valve between the left atrium and left ventricle.
9. Increased bacterial load from decaying oral health can infect the filtering devices of the outer kidney (the glomeruli) and produce a chronic underlying infection with can lead to chronic kidney disease or even kidney failure.
10. Signs of deteriorating oral health include: anorexia (refusal to eat, usually due to pain), halitosis (bad breath), weight loss, vomiting (due to not chewing food properly), excessive drooling, nasal discharge, nose bleeds and/or facial swelling
11. Pets with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for developing secondary problems/infections related to poor oral hygiene. Strengthening the immune system and providing good oral care may help reduce this risk
12. Inflammation associated with periodontal disease and gingivitis are not necessarily limited to the mouth and can spread to other parts of the body such as the liver and kidneys.