Your Pet's Oral Health Image

Why is Dental Care for My Pet Important?


I ask you to take a moment and think about your morning routine.  If it's anything like mine- it's hardly routine. It may change day to day, but there is probably one thing we all do as we are preparing for our day- and that's brushing our teeth.  We have learned over the years that our oral health is important; and the cornerstone of our oral health is regular brushing, flossing and regular visits to our dentist.  The same is true for our pets.  I understand that many factors can prevent you from brushing your pet's teeth regularly- or even at all. There are many ways that we can care for our pet's oral health which do not include regular brushing.

The fact of the matter is that close to 80% of pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal disease. A 2013 study by VPI, a leading veterinary pet insurance company, shows that the cost of routine preventative care is $171 versus the cost to treat dental disease at $531.

Poor oral health in pets can lead to many problems, including bad breath, tooth decay or tooth loss, gum disease, heart and kidney disease and much more. All of these problems can mean shortened life spans and an unhappy pet.

If you notice any of the symptoms below, take your pet to visit your veterinarian at Tampa Veterinary Hospital:

Bleeding from the mouth.

Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth.

Reluctance to eat hard foods—for example, picking it up and then spitting it out.

Bad breath—Most pets have breath that is less than fresh, but if it becomes truly repugnant, similar to the smell of a rotten egg, it’s a sign that periodontal disease has already started

Red, swollen gums and brownish teeth

Depending on the severity of the issue, there are many services and products that can help restore dental health, whether it be a full dental cleaning and polishing, change in diet, water additives, specialty chews or treats and more.  We do recommend routine cleanings for most pets to keep their teeth and gums in the best shape possible. 

What is involved in a dental cleaning?

During a dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from a pet’s teeth, and the health of the entire mouth (tongue, gums, lips, and teeth) is assessed. A thorough dental cleaning can be accomplished only while the pet is under anesthesia. Anesthesia keeps your pet free of anxiety or pain during the dental procedure and allows your veterinarian to fully inspect the teeth and remove tartar from under the gums.

 A dental cleaning may include the following:

 Removal of visible plaque and tartar from the teeth

 Elimination of plaque and tartar from under the gum

 Probing of dental sockets to assess dental disease

 Polishing to smooth enamel scratches that may attract bacteria

 Dental radiographs (X-rays) to identify potential problems below the gum line

 Application of fluoride or a dental sealer

 Removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth

 Dental charting so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time

 Inspection of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems

What can I do to help their teeth at home?

Don't indulge your pet's sweet tooth since sugar can encourage bacterial growth. 

Regularly give your pet an OraVet Chew, Veggie Dent Chew or TVH oral health care chew to help keep tartar and plaque at bay. Not only are dental chews a great way to keep your pet's teeth clean but is a way fun away to keep your pet entertained for hours. There are many other products on the market, ask your veterinarian which one would be best for your pet. Many chews available through grocery stores or other markets may contain preservatives or other additives which may not be good for your pet.

Brush your pet's teeth on a routine basis, two to three times per week.  Although dental chews are a great, they should not substitute for a good teeth brushing. Purchase a special pet toothpaste & toothbrush, never use human toothpaste since pet's can not spit or rinse. The key to successful teeth brushing is to start your pet off slowly for your pet to adapt, be gentle and use positive reinforcement. We are always happy to show you how to get your pet started with tooth brushing- just ask us during your next visit!

Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene Solution works in your pet’s water to reduce tartar build up.

February is 'officially' Dental Health Month, but we are recognizing it beginning in January- so we are offering all dental services and dental related products at 10% off. Call us today at 813-254-3031 to schedule a dental cleaning for your pet!