Most pet parents associate canine and feline dentistry with the need to “fix bad breath”. That is one of many components behind why veterinarians recommend annual dentistry. But, bad breath can be more than just smelly and gross.There are many causes of bad breath in your pet. Some may be obvious – that tasty rodent, rear-end sniffs, or delicacy of another animal’s…well, you get the idea.
One of the most common reasons pets have halitosis, or “bad breath”, is due to bacterial buildup leading to the formation of plaque and tartar.Gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, can also be attributed to bad breath, especially once gingivitis progresses. This advancement of the disease is what can cause tooth and bone loss, known as periodontal disease. Just like in human dentistry, the terminology and diseases are similar.
Humans just brush their teeth more frequently to minimize the issues around gingivitis and periodontal disease. The primary cause of the bad breath is attributed to the bacteria that causes the tooth and bone decay. The smell is because the bacteria creates sulfur and that compound can also cause further decay and bone loss.
Dogs’ breed and age can also be a factor contributing to the development of dental disease and bad breath;smaller dogs and certain breeds may be more prone.h. And dogs aren’t alone! Certain cat breeds and exotic felines are also clinically known for having issues with halitosis.
But, did you know there are other reasons pets can have bad breath? Gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, oral tumors, respiratory infections – all of these other disease states can also contribute to bad breath issues. If you recall from our earlier blog, that is why this annual dental cleaning is more than just professional cleaning. The COHAT (comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment) helps us to ensure that your pet’s oral health is properly assessed and addressed to rule out additional periodontal health concerns.
As you schedule your pet’s annual preventive exams, please remember to schedule your pet’s annual dental exam and procedure. Our goal is to have the best health outcomes to ensure your pet has as many happy, healthy years as possible.
Dr. Karina Ballester, DVM, MPH