The most common disease in cats ,dogs and even people is inflammation of the gum ( Gingivitis) . The cause is obvious, a moist and warm environment (oral cavity) that is exposed to food material few to many times a day which makes it ideal for bacterial growth. In fact oral cavity of pets can have up to more than 600 to 700 different types of bacteria in billions! There are different stages to gingivitis .End stage( stage 4) can cost the patient losing their teeth but that is not all they lose. The bacteria can get access to bloodstream and reach heart , kidneys and liver and cause disease in these organs. bone loss of the jaw in advance cases is common and in small dogs and cats it increases the risk of jaw fracture. Furthermore there has been connection between oral cancer (S.C.C which is malignant) in cats and gum disease. In diabetic cats, treating the gum disease (plus proper diet) can increase the chance of treating diabetes mellitus (which is called remission ) or at least reducing the dose of insulin given everyday to the patient.
The best way to prevent gingivitis in cats and dogs is the combination of the followings:
- brushing the teeth every day (preferably twice a day) using children soft toothbrush or cat/dog toothbrushes.the proper technique is holding the toothbrush 45 degree upward for the upper jaw towards the gum line and performing circular motion . by doing this, the bristles of the toothbrush can go under the gum line and clean the pockets. For the lower jaw, it should be 45 degree downward towards the gum line and the mouth should be slightly open in order to expose the back teeth since they are covered by teeth from upper jaw.
- Hill’s diet t/d has been shown to have some preventive effect since the food pieces do not crumble when chewed by pets and clean the teeth to some degree
- Dental cleaning once a year under anesthesia to remove tartar.