June 2018: Vet's Advice
Take care of your cat's teeth
Much like in humans, poor dental care in our pets leads to poor dental health. Pets having bad breath is not normal! As they only have one set of adult teeth to last them up to 10-20 years of age it is important to take good care of them.
When plaque builds up in the mouth it calcifies and becomes brown, hard tartar. The tartar traps more plaque and bacteria against the gum and accelerates dental disease leading to bone loss and to teeth falling out as a result. The bacteria can also cause painful abscesses in the mouth, and track to other parts of the body including the heart.
What can we do to help?
Whatever measures you use at home, it is always easiest to start with a clean mouth. Training your kitten or puppy to tolerate teeth cleaning is ideal. For for adult dogs and cats who have pre-existing dental disease, we recommend a general anaesthetic to clean the crown of the tooth (the bit you can see) AND under the gum line with specialist instruments.
Once the mouth is clean we would advise:
• Tooth brushing is the most effective method of preventing dental disease (which is why we do it). Always use a pet toothpaste and introduce it over 3-4 weeks. Our nurses would be more than happy to show you how to get started.
• Dental diets. These are more effective than standard kibble as they hold their shape better before cracking apart offering a more abrasive effect on the teeth. The downside is that it has most benefit to the molars but less so for canines and incisors.
• Additives to food and water. There are many productsavailable but none are as good as tooth brushing. Evidence can be varied also, but if you would like more information the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) have a list of approved products on their website.
If you would like more information, or you would like a nurse to advise you on your pet’s dental health please give Kingswood Vets4Pets a call on 0117 961 6417. Or pop in and visit us just of Lodge Causeway.