One of the big things we see at the hospital is Periodontal Disease. It is very important to take care of this.
Bad breath, pawing at the mouth, difficulty eating and chewing food, are but a few of the symptoms of poor oral health. Ignored, they can lead to gum inflammation and periodontal disease, which is caused by infection from plaque and tartar build-up on pets’ teeth. If addressed promptly, the early stages of gingivitis can be treated and the condition reversed. However, if allowed to progress, irreversible periodontitis can occur along with chronic bacterial infection, which can enter the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart.
Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent diseases seen by veterinarians. It is also one of the easiest to prevent.
Signs and Symptoms
- Persistent bad breath
- Sensitivity around the mouth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Plaque (often not visible unless stained)
- Bleeding, inflamed or receded gums
- Tartar (creamy-brown, hard material)
- Loose or missing teeth
- Difficulty eating and chewing food
Stage I Gingivitis – Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Plaque covering teeth. Treatment can reverse condition.
Stage II Early Periodontitis – Entire attached gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.
Stage III Moderate Periodontitis – Cherry red and bleeding attached gum is being destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behavior. Bad breath is present. Beginning of periodontal disease. May be irreversible.
Stage IV Advanced Periodontitis – Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth and bone. Bacteria may be spreading throughout the entire body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart.