Diet-related oral disease: Risks, prevention, and treatment
Diet is directly related to the pathological presentation of several mammalian oral diseases. Periodontitis, the progressive stage of gingivitis, is the most common pathology to compromise pet oral health. Fortunately, proper nutrition intervention can arrest and sometimes even correct the progression of several diet-related dental complications.
Certain pet foods can exacerbate the onset of oral disease. Numerous studies have found that wet pet foods are associated with higher instances of periodontitis in both canine and feline subjects. Hard pet foods like kibble require prolonged mastication prior to deglutition and are thus the preferred option for pet oral disease prevention.
The risks of processed foods to human health have received more media attention in recent years. Many people are choosing to prepare their own pet food to increase the quality of their pets’ diets. Unfortunately, homemade pet food has been associated with increased incidences of oral health complications in both cats and dogs.
Researchers conducted a massive cross-sectional study of over 17,000 dogs and cats to evaluate their oral hygiene in relation to the consistent ingestion of either a homemade or commercially produced pet food. The study revealed not only significant oral health problems associated with homemade pet food, but also significant benefits from a commercially processed pet food diet.
Oral disease is extremely common in pets and over 80% of dogs have active periodontal disease at any given time. The condition manifests itself as a progression of gingivitis which is caused by the accumulation of plaque and bacteria which leads to tartar. It is important to educate your clients about the role they play in preventing periodontal disease.
Preventative Oral Hygiene Solutions
Optimal oral and systemic health can be achieved by feeding pets a high-quality, nutrient-dense, and commercially produced dry pet food. Toothbrushing has proven to be effective in improving the oral health of cats and dogs. Eating causes plaque to buildup on the gingivae. If left to accumulate, this plaque will indurate and form a thick tartar leading to gingivitis. However, tooth brushing is only effective at removing build up from the last 48 hours or so because it calcifies. Toothbrushing cannot reverse the damage that has already been done and thus is only preventative. Regardless, you should recommend that their clients brush their pet’s teeth a minimum of three times a week to maintain dental hygiene. This will reduce their pet’s pain by being on the preventative side of veterinary care.
Oral Disease Treatment
Exodontia, or tooth extraction, is one of the most routine oral procedures for veterinarians to conduct. While performing this surgery, it is imperative that you remove the problematic tooth and the associated root without damaging the surrounding tissue which may cause excessive bleeding and other additional complications.
Hemorrhage happens; however, thus it is important that you are equipped with a hemostatic agent to manage and arrest the bleed as quickly and conveniently as possible. VETIGEL, the first flowable made for veterinarians, is supplied in a pre-filled syringe so it can be used immediately to control bleeding on contact. VETIGEL is a plant-based solution, currently available for purchase by licensed veterinarians in the United States.
Impact and Implications
From educator to healer, veterinarians play many important roles in their client’s and patient’s lives. February is National Pet Dental Health Month. It is important for you to take this time to educate your clients about how to prevent diet-related oral disease in their pets. This month also affords you a great opportunity to prepare for some of your most common procedures by ensuring you have a safe and reliable hemostatic agent to assist you with all your dental surgical needs.