Animals can’t speak and tell us they have dental problems like a child can. Your pet's teeth are extremely important. “Vets say 85 percent of canines over age 4 have some form of gum disease,” reported by Animal Planet.com.

In order to catch dental disease in the early stages, you should schedule a regular inspection of your pet’s mouth. Here are some signs that you need to get your pet into the vet.

Bad Breath

Redness or bleeding along the gum line may indicate gingivitis. If food particles and bacteria are allowed to accumulate along the animal’s gum line, it can form plaque, which, when combined with saliva and minerals, will transform into calculus. This causes gum irritation and leads to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis.

Loose or Missing Teeth

Your dog's happy, carefree life should be unbothered by dental concerns, right? Think again. Frequent problems include crooked, cracked or loose teeth, an infection or an abscess.

Chewing Difficulties

Oral dysphagia can be caused by paralysis of the jaw, tongue paralysis, dental disease, swelling or wasting away of the chewing muscles, or by an inability to open the mouth. Animals with oral dysphagia often eat in an altered way, such as tilting the head to one side or throwing the head backward while eating. Food packed in the cheek folds of the mouth without saliva are also typical signs of oral dysphagia.

Tartar Build-Up

Tartar may appear as a brownish-gold buildup on the teeth, close to the gum line. Plaque is a gummy substance that forms on the teeth within a few hours after a meal. Within 24 hours, plaque begins to harden by combining with salts that are present in the saliva. As the plaque continues to accumulate and mineralize, it eventually transforms into tartar.

Drooling

“There’s normal, healthy slobber that helps your dog eat and digest. And then there’s Niagara Falls. Too much drool, or hypersalivation, can be a sign of illness” states Pets Web MD.

Pawing at the Mouth

Often, dental pain, abscesses, and periodontal disease can cause your dog to paw at his mouth, rub his muzzle after eating, or even try to get at his ears. Skin irritation can occur from the pawing and scratching, which can lead to a mistaken case of allergies.

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

A professional dental cleaning removes not only the visible plaque and tartar on the teeth surfaces but also the bacteria under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection to the mouth and other organs and protects your pet from pain and tooth loss.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.