The importance of healthy teeth for your dog or cat

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Just like people, dogs and cats can suffer a lot if their teeth are not healthy. It is therefore very important to take good care of your dog or cat’s teeth. This way you ensure that your pet stays healthy and you avoid an (expensive) visit to the vet! Read here how to recognize dental problems and what you can do about it.

Why healthy teeth are important

The teeth are essential for eating and absorbing nutrients. If the teeth are not healthy, this can lead to your dog or cat not getting enough of the necessary nutrients. In addition, eating can become uncomfortable or even painful, making your pet less inclined to eat.

A common complaint from owners is smelly breath from their dog or cat. This is almost always the result of unhealthy teeth. Plaque, for example, causes many bacteria to stick to the teeth, which in the long run leads to an unpleasant odor.

When the dental problems get worse, inflammation can develop in the mouth. This is not only painful for your dog or cat, but can also lead to problems in the rest of the body. Bacteria from the mouth can spread throughout the body and can even increase the risk of heart problems.

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Common Dental Problems

About 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental problems. These problems are often not so serious in the beginning, but can become so in the long run if the owner does not intervene.

In the first instance, plaque usually develops, a yellowish deposit on the teeth, which arises from saliva and food residues. Dental plaque can usually be removed by brushing properly. If you don’t remove plaque, tartar can form. This is a brown deposit, which is associated with poorly perfused gums. Tartar cannot be brushed away and will have to be removed by a vet. In addition to tartar, dental plaque can also lead to cavities and various inflammations, such as gum disease or inflammation in the buccal mucosa.

Once your dog or cat suffers from tartar and/or inflammation in the mouth, you can no longer solve this yourself and you have to go to the vet for a dental cleaning treatment. The pet will have to be under anesthesia for this. Enough reason to intervene quickly and not let it get that far!

This is how you recognize dental problems in your dog or cat

Healthy teeth have white teeth, pink gums and do not contain any deposits. The gums have good blood supply, but are not bleeding and are not red or swollen. Excessive salivation, loss of teeth or bad breath are indications that your pet’s teeth are not healthy.

You can often deduce from the behavior of your dog or cat that something is not right. For example, if your dog or cat only chews on one side of the mouth or if he or she is startled by food, this usually means that there are problems with the teeth. Dental problems can even make your friend less interested in playing and displaying grumpy behavior!

Finally, inflammation elsewhere in the body can also be a sign that an infection exists in the mouth and that it has spread through the body through the bloodstream.

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The causes of dental problems

The main cause of bad teeth is a lack of care. If you take good care of your teeth, for example by brushing, the risk of plaque, tartar and inflammation is much smaller. It is wise to check your teeth regularly and to intervene immediately if you see something crazy.

Dental problems can also be caused by diet. The risk is greater with wet food than with hard kibble, because kibble helps to clean the teeth. When you give your pet canned food, it is therefore extra important to help him or her keep his or her teeth clean. It is also not a good idea to feed your pet leftovers of your own food. These often contain added sugars, which are harmful to the teeth.

Finally, your dog or cat can wear teeth while playing. This is, for example, due to tennis balls or sticks. It is especially harmful when there is sand on it, because this damages the enamel and the teeth are less well protected.

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This is how you prevent dental problems in your dog or cat

Only 1% of dog and cat owners brush their pet’s teeth. So you are by no means alone if you do not do this, but you can prevent a large part of the problems with brushing. It is wise to start with this at a young age of your dog or cat. This way you and your pet get used to it and you can keep an eye on whether the teeth remain healthy.

There are also kibble available with a special shape, which makes them an extra contribution to cleaning the teeth of your dog or cat. Toys, chews and treats can also help, but are not enough.

Because not all dental problems are easy to recognize, it is also advisable to have your pet’s teeth checked by the vet once a year.

In short, healthy teeth are very important for the health of your dog or cat. Fortunately, it is not that difficult to help him or her with this and you do not have to purchase all kinds of expensive products. If you brush regularly and check your teeth occasionally for abnormalities, this can prevent many problems!

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