Periodontal Disease/Signs & Symptoms
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition affecting our canine patients, with dogs showing signs and symptoms by the age of three. Unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of the disease evident to the owner.
Please watch the video below to learn more from Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC who is a board certified veterinary dentist.
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. The real problem develops as plaque and calculus spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this “sub-gingival” plaque set in motion a cycle of damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually leading to loss of the tooth.
Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation or redness of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth.) There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia for veterinary patients. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and be carried throughout the body. Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
(Excerpted from the website of the American Veterinary Dental College, www.avdc.org)