From TCAP’s Website…
Proper dental care can add three to five years to your pet’s life. By the age of three, some 80% of all dogs and 70% of all cats show signs of dental disease, which can lead to the more serious problems of heart, lung, and kidney disease. The sooner you have it treated by your veterinarian (and learn to care for it yourself), the sooner your pet can stay on the road to health as well as smell good!
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue by bacteria. Plaque and tartar form naturally when food remains in the cracks of the teeth, especially at the gum line. Canned food sticks easier, so it is more likely to cause plaque. At this stage the plaque is still soft, and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can remove it. If it is left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and painful.
Plaque soon hardens into tartar that separates the tooth from the gum. If the plaque and tartar build up continue, an infection can form at the root of the tooth. This is the most advanced stage, showing up as loose teeth, bleeding gums and pain anytime your pet tries to eat.
Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated. The keys to your pet’s oral health are professional veterinary dental care and good care at home.