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Vet Talks: Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats

Posted 2020-11-12



Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health and is linked to other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year (or twice a year in senior patients) by your veterinarian to look for early signs of a problem and keep your pet’s mouth healthy. At least 50% of my patients on a daily basis have some degree of dental disease.


Signs of dental disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Discolored teeth, tartar
  • Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • Pain in or around the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
  • Behavior changes- some become irritable

Causes of dental disease include:

  • Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • Broken teeth and roots
  • Periodontal disease
  • Abscesses or infected teeth
  • Cysts or tumors in mouth
  • Genetics

Periodontal disease is the most common condition in dogs and cats. By the time your pet is three years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which can worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventative measures aren’t taken.


  • Treatment of dental disease includes a good cleaning under anesthesia by a veterinarian or a veterinary dentist. X-rays of the mouth are taken to look at the roots, (many times you can’t see infection without x-rays if the infection resides at the root tips), any extractions (or root canal if seeing a veterinary dentist) are done, then the teeth are polished. The equipment used in veterinary dentistry is the exact equipment used in human dentistry (some tools are modified to fit dog and cat mouths).
  • If your pet cannot go under anesthesia due to health and/or age concerns, routine flushing of the mouth with veterinary antiseptics, brushing, and NHV Mouth Drops can help prevent progression of dental disease.


  • NHV Mouth Drops, washes of coenzyme q10, vitamin c or propolis.

Do you have any questions about your pet’s health? Feel free to contact me through NHV for an online vet consult.

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