According to the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC), "Dental disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult cats and dogs, and is entirely preventable." The cause of dental disease is the same in pets as it is in people. It is an infection resulting from a build-up of soft dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. Once the dental plaque accumulates, the bacteria in the plaque irritates the gum tissue, which leads to an infection in the bone surrounding the teeth.
Calcium salts from the saliva deposits on the plaque and causes hard dental tartar (calculus). This tartar starts to form within a few days on an unclean tooth surface and makes the tooth surface rough, allowing more plaque accumulation. Once the tartar accumulates, it is not easy to remove without professional veterinary dental instruments.
Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats are:
- Bad breath.
- Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar.
- Shying away when the mouth area is touched.
- Drooling or dropping food from the mouth.
- Bleeding from the mouth.
- Loss of appetite and/ or loss of weight (this combination can result from diseases of many organs, and so early veterinary examination is important).