Happy Teeth, Happy Heart: How Pet Dental Care Affects Heart Health
If hearts aren’t on your mind as Valentine’s Day approaches, they are certainly everywhere you look. Because your pet’s health is our top priority at Heart of Texas, we want to turn your attention to your pet's heart during this month of love.
Just like humans, pets depend on their hearts to circulate blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to keep them active and thriving. Poor oral hygiene is one of the biggest threats to your pet’s heart health. Proper pet dental care is crucial in providing your pet with a good quality of life.
What Is Pet Dental Disease?
Pet dental disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the most common dental condition seen in dogs and cats, according to the American Veterinary Dental College. Periodontal disease develops in the following way:
- When our pet’s teeth aren’t properly cared for, the bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form a sticky substance called plaque.
- Over time, plaque hardens into dental calculus (tartar), which stays firmly attached to the teeth.
- Periodontal disease results from the spreading of plaque and tartar below the gumline, leading to damage to the supportive tissues of the tooth and tooth loss.
The bacteria that colonizes a pet’s mouth, as a result of dental disease, produce toxins that can leach into the bloodstream, where it circulates throughout the body. Small infections in the major organs, including the heart, can cause damage and even death if not treated. There is some evidence that bacteria from the mouth can actually colonize in the valves of the heart as well.
Pet Dental Care 101
Fortunately, pet dental disease and resulting complications are entirely preventable. Turn your pet’s oral health around before they need to be seen by our cardiologist or seek emergency services. It’s never too late to coordinate care with your regular veterinarian using the following steps:
- Brush your pet’s teeth every day! With patience and consistency, most pets can learn to tolerate toothbrushing, and the resulting dental health will be well worth the effort. Your veterinarian can demonstrate proper technique and provide you with tips and tricks to make toothbrushing a breeze.
- Make sure you maintain your pet’s annual or biannual wellness examinations with your regular veterinarian, where their mouths will be examined and recommendations made for follow up care.
- Most pets require a professional dental examination and cleaning under anesthesia from time to time to prevent or treat dental problems.
A Happy, Healthy Heart
Besides a nutritious diet, exercise, and plenty of love, pet dental care is an essential component of a healthy heart. Your partners in pet care at Heart of Texas are always here to answer your questions and concerns about your furry loved one. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!