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Why should I have my pet's teeth cleaned? How Often?

Dental disease is the number one problem facing dogs and cats two years and older.


  • 85% of all pets by this age will have some degree of gum disease and tartar buildup.
  • As this condition progresses, your pet will suffer more consequences than simple bad breath odor.
  • Dental disease is an active infection in the mouth, which damages the mouth & the rest of the body.
  • Dental disease can lead to painful bone and tooth loss.
  • Advancing cases can also suffer damage to their lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys as oral bacteria enter the circulation and damage these organs.  Statistically, animals with good oral health will live two years longer than those with poor oral hygiene.


It is important to treat and control periodontal disease for three major reasons:


  • To maintain the teeth and gums in a healthy state
  • To prevent discomfort and pain for your pet
  • To guard against infection spreading to other parts of the body.


Teeth are normally white and smooth.  Healthy gums are pink, smooth, and adhere tightly to the teeth.  Diseased gums are thickened, red, and bleed easily.  If any warning sign is present, your pet needs attention.


  • Many pets with dental disease suffer in silence.
  • Others show acute pain while eating.
  • Some pets act depressed.
  • BAD BREATH and drooling are frequent signs of dental disease.


Even with regular brushing, it is necessary to have your teeth cleaned from time to time.


  • Treatment for most pets means having your veterinarian remove calculus at and below the gum line.
  • Polishing smoothes tooth surfaces to reduce bacteria growth.
  • Your dentist looks after this for you probably once to twice a year.  For your dog or cat, your veterinarian is qualified to fill this role.  The procedure is commonplace today in veterinary practices.
  • In combination with brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, this will help prevent the development of one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats: periodontal disease.


Most pets require dental cleanings at least once a year.  Some pets, including may small-breed dogs, require dental cleanings more often in order to maintain good oral health.  Our doctors will make individual recommendations for your pet based on the oral exam during the physical exams.

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