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Hillside Vets 'Root of the Problem' Article


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 Getting to the root of the problem!

 You take care of your own teeth, but what about your dog (or cat for that matter)? Without regular dental care, dogs and cats will develop gum disease, just like us, leading to mouth pain and ultimately tooth loss.

 Our pets usually start life with shiny white teeth and healthy shrimp pink (or pigmented) gums. However, over time, accumulation of plaque bacteria on the surface of the teeth leads to inflammation of the gums, a condition called gingivitis (otherwise known as gum disease). This is frequently accompanied by the accumulation of calculus (tartar) on the surface of the teeth and also bad breath!

 If the infection continues unchecked, bacteria start to penetrate below the gum line, destroying the tooth supporting structures ­ a painful condition called periodontitis. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loosening and eventually tooth loss as the disease progresses.

 Recent surveys have shown that 85% of dogs and 70% of cats over three years of age have some form of dental disease. Prompt recognition of any problems in the mouth gives the best chance of successful treatment. 

 Your vet can advise on routine dental care for your dog to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Some dogs will allow you to brush their teeth ­ ask your vet on the best ways to do this safely.

 If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s teeth, contact your vet for an appointment.



Chris Devlin is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. 

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