5452 Marlboro, Pike District Heights, MD 20747

(301) 420-5240

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While dental disease is common among humans, dental disease in pets is the MOST common form of disease. As most pets are not self-sufficient and cannot feed themselves, they can't brush their own teeth either, it is up to us as their masters to educate ourselves in pet dental care so that we can take proper care of our loving pets.


Dental disease in pets occurs as a result of the buildup of tartar, sometimes referred to as calculus. Tartar develops when plaque (a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth consisting of bacteria, mucus and food) remains on the teeth for too long. The long-term effects of bacteria in plaque can lead to periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingivitis is as an inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the gums will become infected and eventually recede, exposing the root of the tooth to further bacteria and will progress to many types of dental disease. 


Periodontitis is defined as an infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth. Pets with this form of periodontal disease may: have abscesses, need root canals and eventually lose teeth.

There are many signs of dental disease in pets. Foul smelling "doggy breath" indicates the presence of bacteria in the mouth. The appearance of yellow or brown deposits, known as calculus, usually appearing at the gum line, is another sign of dental disease. Red, rather than pale pink gums, are also indicative of dental disease. The beginning of gingivitis is indicated by a red line at the base of the gums.

While many of us may object to our pet's bad breath, we should pay attention to what it may be telling us before we reach for quick and easy fixes. Bad breath is most commonly an indication that a trip to the veterinarian is needed for a dental check up. Dental plaque caused by bacteria results in a foul smell that requires professional care to treat. It is too late to simply brush the teeth once the odor becomes noticeable. After a professional cleaning, the teeth and gums may be maintained in a healthy state by brushing the teeth regularly, feeding some of the specially formulated dental diets and treats, avoiding table scraps or leaving the food out all day, etc. We can give you more tips on minimizing dental disease and bad breath.

While dental disease may not be too serious if caught early enough, some odors may be indicative of fairly serious, chronic problems. Liver or intestinal diseases may cause foul breath, whereas a sweet, fruity smell may be indicative of diabetes. If the breath smells like ammonia or urine, kidney disease is a possibility. Any time you notice your pet has bad breath accompanied by other signs of ill health such as loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, depression, excessive drinking or urinating, a visit to our office should be scheduled.

Puppies & Kittens replace their baby teeth with permanent teeth between four and seven months of age. Clean their teeth with pet toothpaste or a baking-soda-and water paste once or twice a week. Use a child's soft toothbrush, a gauze pad or a piece of nylon pantyhose stretched over your finger. Some pets develop periodontal disease, a pocket of infection between the tooth and the gum. This painful condition can result in tooth loss and is a source of infection for the rest of the body. We can clean the teeth as a regular part of your pet's health program.


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5452 Marlboro, Pike District Heights, MD 20747

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