Tooth Infections in Dogs and Cats

Tooth Infections in Dogs and Cats

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Oral hygiene is a prerequisite for overall health. In pets, bad breath may not always be normal; it could indicate the onset of a tooth infection

Signs of dental diseases begin to appear by 3 years in about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats.

In this blog post, we learn about the signs of tooth infections in dogs and cats, their primary symptoms, complications, and how to deal with them.

Signs of tooth infections in dogs and cats

It is important that pet parents pay attention to signs such as frequent irritability, lethargy, decreased appetite, abnormal chewing or dropping of food from the mouth, and unusual drooling.

The pets should also be closely monitored for any bleeding from the mouth, swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth, teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, bad breath, broken or loose teeth, and extra teeth or retained baby teeth. 

The presence of any such signs calls for an immediate consultation with a veterinary dentist.

Primary symptoms

Bad breath, plaque buildup, and swollen gums are the primary symptoms of dental infection, commonly seen in both dogs and cats. 

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky deposit of bacteria that develops from the pet’s food and saliva. Dental plaque occurs at the junction of the teeth and gums. 

Over time, the plaque depositions form tartar (or calculi) which is harder than plaque and intensifies tooth damage.

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Excess and long-term deposition of tartar progress to gum infections (periodontal disease), causing chronic pain and swelling of gums and loss of teeth. 

Periodontal disease should be treated in its early stage, else it may result in secondary infections that could affect the pet’s joint, kidney, heart, and liver health.

Begin tooth care early on...

Apart from routine dental examinations, tooth infections in your pets can be prevented by establishing a basic oral care regimen at home. 

You could train your pets, when young, to get habituated with oral hygiene practices such as: 

  • Brushing their teeth using a medically recommended, pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Introducing them to other oral care alternatives such as dental diets, treats, and chew toys to reduce the formation and accumulation of plaque.
  • Introducing them to a veterinarian-prescribed mouthwash to help reduce bacterial growth in the mouth.

Source: All About Pets. Happy Dents, Happy Pets. 2021;1(3):5.

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Suggested reading:

Check out the Pet Care section for more blog posts on pets' health, diet, and so on.

Explore the Himalaya Wellness blog for more useful articles.

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