Many people are surprised to learn that cavities aren’t the biggest dental issue that can affect our animals.
Dental disease, also known as gum disease, periodontal disease, or periodontitis is significantly more of a risk and will go on to affect around 1 in 3 animals. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that no animals will get cavities during their lifetime. And if they do, they will cause all of the same unpleasant and debilitating symptoms that they do in humans.
It's worth pointing out that only dogs get cavities. Cats don’t develop cavities as we know them but can develop holes in their teeth that are caused by tooth resorption, which is a condition characterized by the tooth structure breaking down.
Here's what you need to know about what you can do to prevent your pet from developing cavities in the future.
Preventing Pet Cavities
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can to do protect your pet from cavities.
Brush Your Pet's Teeth
Unsurprisingly, brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the best ways of preventing cavities. That’s because, just like in humans, brushing helps to remove plaque that forms on your pet’s teeth when they eat. This plaque contains acid-producing bacteria that will destroy the layers of the enamel of your pet’s teeth and cause cavities to develop. It’s also a plaque that will contribute to the development of periodontal disease, so brushing properly won’t only prevent cavities but it will also help to protect your teeth against gum disease – which also causes a range of complications, from bad breath to tooth loss.
We know that brushing your pet’s teeth might not be easy at first. It can take time to develop an effective technique, and while brushing every day is optimal, it’s not always achievable. Make sure you use veterinary-approved toothpaste as human varieties are very toxic to animals.
Give Your Pet Dental Chews
Pet chews are really good for their dental health for several reasons. Firstly, they are usually made from ingredients that are proven to be beneficial for your pet’s oral health. Secondly, they are created to be abrasive. As your pet chews them, they will rub against their teeth and gums in the same manner as a toothbrush, removing food debris and plaque that contributes to gum disease and cavities. And finally, chewing causes your pet’s mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva helps to wash away food debris and neutralize plaque acids, reducing the risk of cavities forming.
Consider Food and Water Additives
There are a variety of food and water additives that have been shown to reduce plaque formation. Look for products that have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
Take Your Pet to See a Veterinary Dentist
A good veterinary dentist will be able to closely monitor the health and condition of your pet’s teeth, detecting any issues that are developing early on so that they can be treated promptly before they cause pain and other issues for your pet. They can also carry out professional cleaning, usually under general anesthetic, which is an effective way of keeping cavities and gum disease at bay.
If, despite your best efforts, your pet does develop a cavity, don’t despair. Some treatments can address cavities, including a dental filling, just like humans get!
If you would like more information about preventing pet cavities call Goose Creek Veterinary Hospital at (571) 291-9110 to reach our office in Ashburn, VA. For emergencies, visit The LifeCentre office in Leesburg, Virginia, or call 703-777-5755.