Updated: Nov 8
As loving pet parents, it's essential to understand that dental health goes beyond just ensuring fresh breath and a clean appearance. Neglecting dental hygiene can have far-reaching consequences on your pet's overall health and well-being, affecting vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. By taking proactive measures to prevent bacterial buildup in your pet's mouth, you can help safeguard their health and longevity.
Bacteria and Dental Disease
The buildup of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth can create a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms. As these bacteria multiply, they release toxins that not only attack the tooth's structure but also inflame the surrounding gum tissues.
The accumulation of bacteria in your pet's mouth is a natural process that occurs continuously. As with humans, bacteria are present in the oral cavity of pets, forming a thin, sticky film called plaque on the teeth. This plaque is a mix of bacteria, saliva, food particles and other substances.
If left undisturbed, plaque can mineralise and harden into a substance known as tartar or dental calculus. Tartar firmly adheres to the teeth and provides an ideal surface for more bacteria to cling to, exacerbating the problem. The presence of tartar can also irritate the gums, causing inflammation and leading to the onset of gum disease, which is one of the most common dental issues in pets.
When your pet consumes food, especially foods high in carbohydrates and sugars, the bacteria in their mouth feed on the remnants of these particles. As the bacteria consume the sugars, they produce acids as byproducts, which can lead to the demineralisation of the tooth enamel. Over time, this process weakens the protective layer of the teeth and makes them more susceptible to dental issues.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a primary consequence of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar on the teeth. It starts with gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease characterised by red, swollen and bleeding gums. If not addressed at this stage, the condition progresses to more advanced stages, causing damage to the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, ligaments and jawbone. Ultimately, this can lead to tooth loss.
The Domino Effect: Organs Affected by Dental Bacteria
The bacterial toxins released in your pet’s mouth can find their way into the bloodstream through inflamed gum tissues. This can have systemic effects on your pet's overall health, affecting vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
Bacterial buildup in your pet's mouth can have severe implications on their heart health. One of the most concerning consequences is the increased risk of developing a condition called endocarditis. Endocarditis is an inflammation or infection of the heart's inner lining, including the heart valves. When harmful bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream due to inflamed gum tissues, they can find their way to the heart and adhere to the damaged heart valves.
The liver plays a vital role in detoxifying the body, processing nutrients and supporting metabolism. When harmful bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream, they pass through the liver during the body's circulatory process. The presence of these bacteria in the liver can trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation and liver damage.
The kidneys are crucial for filtering waste products and maintaining proper fluid balance in your pet’s body. When harmful oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can be filtered through the kidneys, putting these vital organs at risk of infection.
Aspiration pneumonia is a serious condition that can occur when oral bacteria are inhaled into the lungs. This is more likely to happen in pets with advanced periodontal disease or those with weakened immune systems. As the bacteria reach the lungs, they can trigger an inflammatory response, leading to lung infection and respiratory distress.
Regular Dental Check-Ups And Cleanings
It's essential to maintain a balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your pet's mouth. Regular dental care, such as brushing and professional cleanings play a crucial role in managing the bacterial population and preserving oral health.
Regular veterinary check-ups help in the early detection and management of dental problems, ensuring that your pet will enjoy a pain-free and healthy life. By prioritising your pet's dental health, you can take proactive steps in preventing serious oral and systemic health issues, leading to a happier, healthier and longer life for your pet.
To book a COHAT (Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment), please call our friendly customer care team today on (07) 3288 1822.
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