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  • Writer's pictureSteve San Miguel Zamorano

Pet's Teeth 101

June 23, 2021

Approximately 85-95% of all dogs and cats two years old or older have periodontal disease. The first sign of which is halitosis (bad breath)! Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in pets as well as a major factor in infections of the liver, heart, lung, and even the brain. Gum disease is painful. Red gums indicate inflammation and discomfort. Dogs and cats have the same nerve supply to teeth & gums as humans and hurt just as much when the infection is present.

Periodontal disease and tooth loss are totally preventable in many cases and controllable in the rest with regular dental cleanings as often as needed (usually annually but sometimes more often) and daily home care.

Proper home dental care is important because plaque begins to accumulate within 24-48 hours after eating and begins to mineralize into calculus and tartar. As this infection builds up the bacteria spread under the gumline where the real damage occurs as the gum begins to separate from the tooth as the disease progresses.


Grade 1: Plaque accumulates at the gumline and there may be slight redness’ and bad


Grade 2: Calculus forms at the gum line, and there are redness and swelling.

Grade 3: Same as above + gum begins to separate from the tooth. The veterinarian will use a dental probe to determine the depth of the separation. Mouth ulcers may be forming. Pus and bleeding may be present.

Grade 4: There is a major loss of attachment between the gum and tooth. The teeth may be loose. Pus and bleeding may be present. The mouth odor is extremely foul.

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