Just like humans, our pets are vulnerable to gum disease and problems with their teeth. Alarmingly, it is estimated that up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three.

Dental disease typically begins with a build-up of plaque, consisting of bacteria, food particles and saliva components, on the teeth. Plaque sticks to the tooth surface above and below the gum line and if not removed will calcify into tartar (also known as calculus). This appears as a yellow-brown material on the teeth. Over time the plaque and tartar can result in periodontal disease, which can result in irreversible changes to the teeth and supportive structures.

Periodontal disease can result in local problems, such as red and inflamed gums, bad breath, and the loss of teeth. There is also growing evidence that periodontal disease can be associated with disease in distant organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys. Ultimately, dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue – it can be a cause of significant illness and pain in dogs and cats.


Signs of dental disease

  • Yellow-brown colour on teeth
  • Inflamed, red gums
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at their face or mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pain or bleeding associated with the mouth

If your pet is showing any of these signs of dental disease please book an appointment to see one of our veterinarians. Early assessment and treatment can save your pet’s teeth!

Some animals with dental disease may show no obvious signs, particularly in early stages. It is important to remember that just because your pet is eating, it doesn’t mean they do not have dental pain.

Ways to keep your pet's teeth healthy


There are several things you can do to manage your pet’s oral hygiene and prevent oral infections and diseases:

  • Brush their teeth once a day if possible, or at least once a week
  • Feed your pet a high-quality diet that supports healthy gums and teeth
  • Invest in (safe) chew toys for your pet, along with vet-recommended dental chews
  • Bring your pet in once a year for an oral health exam
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