Dental disease is the most common ailment affecting our pets – 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some degree of dental disease by the age of three years.1
Maintaining good dental hygiene is the best way to prevent dental disease. Prevention is better than a cure!
Signs of Dental Disease
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Staining and build-up on teeth
- Red, swollen and/or bleeding gums
- Blood apparent on toys (excluding teething puppies)
- Mouth ulcers
- Missing and/or loose teeth
- Favouring one side of the mouth when eating
- Reluctance to play with toys or eat
Stages of Dental Disease
- Grade 0 – Normal healthy teeth with no signs of dental disease
- Grade 1 – Gingivitis
- Grade 2 – Early periodontitis
- Grade 3 – Moderate periodontitis
- Grade 4 – Advanced periodontitis
Consequences of Dental Disease
In addition to affecting the mouth, dental disease can contribute to a range of other health conditions including male sterility2, heart disease and kidney disease, and shorten the lifespan of your pet.
Preventing & Treating Dental Disease
The medical term for bad breath is Halitosis. It is unpleasant for us as well as our pets!
- Dental disease
- Certain medical conditions such as tonsillitis
- Coprophagia (eating faeces)
- Licking of anus – can be due to full/irritated/infected anal glands, worms, consuming spicy food, or sores due to passing sharp bone fragments or other objects
- Stick or bone fragments, or rotting food, stuck in teeth or lodged in the back of the mouth/throat
- Calculus – An off-white, yellow or brown hardened form of Plaque. More difficult to remove than Plaque. Leads to Halitosis, Tooth Decay and Periodontal Disease.
- Cavity – Another term for Tooth Decay.
- Dental Caries – Another term for Tooth Decay.
- Dental Disease – Usually another term for Periodontal Disease but may also refer to Tooth Decay.
- Feline Stomatitis – A painful inflammatory condition of the mouth in cats. Also known as Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS).
- Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums, a mild form of Periodontal Disease.
- Gum Disease – Another term for Periodontal Disease.
- Halitosis – The medical term for bad breath.
- Oral Disease – A health condition affecting the mouth, such as Periodontal Disease, Tooth Decay, cancer etc.
- Periodontal Disease – Inflammation and infection of the gums.
- Periodontitis – Another term for Periodontal Disease.
- Plaque – A colourless or pale-yellow film of bacteria that sticks to the teeth. Leads to Calculus, Halitosis, Tooth Decay and Periodontal Disease.
- Tartar – Another term for Calculus.
- Tooth Decay – Breakdown of teeth. Permanent damage. Caused by Plaque.
1 RSPCA Australia Knowledge Base. (2019, September 23). How Should I Take Care of My Cat or Dog’s Teeth. Retrieved from https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-should-i-take-care-of-my-cat-or-dogs-teeth/
2 Savant Harris, M. (2005). Canine Reproduction and Whelping: A Dog Breeder’s Guide. Dogwise Publishing.