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Five Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning

Discover How to Determine When Your Dog or Cat Needs a Dental Cleaning

The single best way to maintain your pet's oral health and protect them from the pain and discomfort associated with dental disease is to provide your pet with regular dental cleanings. Even if you brush your pet's teeth regularly and provide them with high quality dental chews, your pet will still need professional dental cleanings in order to avoid the damaging ramifications of dental disease.

Keep reading to learn how to determine when it's time for your pet to receive a cleaning!

Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning

Discoloration of Teeth

The most common and apparent sign your pet is in need of a dental cleaning is discoloration of the teeth. Discoloration usually occurs most noticeably towards the back of your pet's mouth on the molars, but can also be found on the four canine teeth as well. The discoloration associated with dental disease will vary in appearance depending on the stage and severity of the dental disease:

  • Brownish/tan color: indicates staining

  • Dark green/grey color: typically associated with infection and decay

  • Off-whitish/tan material: plaque and tartar buildup

For visual examples of the discoloration associated with dental disease, click here

Bad Breath / Foul Odor

While many of us joke about the bad breath of our pets, it really is no laughing matter! Bad breath and/or a foul odor coming from your pet's mouth can indicate the presence of infection caused by dental disease, which is not only painful for your pet but very dangerous as well. The mouth acts as a direct access point to the blood stream, allowing the infection to travel systemically throughout the body, impacting internal organ health and function. If your pet has bad breath, it's time to consider a dental cleaning right away!

Red or Swollen Gums

As plaque and tartar begin to build up on the teeth, it pushes its way up under the gum line, getting trapped in the small pocket between the tooth's surface and gum. Overtime this creates irritation, leading to redness and inflammation of the gum tissue - a condition referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis is not only uncomfortable, but can also affect the integrity of the teeth if left untreated. If you notice your pet's gums are red or inflamed, it's time for a dental cleaning!

Dropping Food / Changes to Appetite

Dental disease is painful and can affect your dog's ability to chew comfortably. As dental disease progresses, many pets begin having difficulties chewing, causing them to chew abnormally or drop pieces of food while eating. In some cases, the pain associated with dental disease is so severe that pets begin refusing meals all together. Sudden changes in chewing habits that seem to have onset overnight can indicate trauma to a tooth such a crack or fracture.

None At All - Simply Age (and not just old age!)

It's important to note that dental disease can hide beneath the gum line, remaining invisible to the naked eye. Many pets may appear unaffected by dental disease, however we know that dental disease affects 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of three. Because of this, it's recommended that adult dogs and cats receive a dental cleaning every year! During these routine dental cleanings we are able to use x-ray technology to look beneath the gum line and catch dental disease in its early stages, protecting your pet from the pain and discomfort associated with progressive dental disease.

To schedule your pet a dental consultation with our team:


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