Dental calculus (tartar) is composed of various mineral salts, organic matter, serum and food particles. In the early stages of accumulation, the material is soft (plaque), but if it is not removed it continues to build up until it becomes mineralised and forms calculus.
Continual accumulation causes pressure and inflammation of the gums and eventually recession of the gum tissue, which loosens the teeth. The breath becomes very odorous and the mouth becomes a dangerous source of infection.
It is currently believed that some of the internal diseases of mature dogs are the result of diseased teeth and gums.
Correction of tartar deposits consists of:
• Administration of a short-acting general anaesthetic
• Thorough oral examination
• Removal of tartar accumulation by ultrasonic scaling, subgingival planing and polishing
• Extraction of hopelessly diseased teeth
1. The most easily used and accepted method nowadays is HILLS t/d (Tooth Diet) - a dried food for dogs and cats which is recommended as a total diet but can replace part of your pets diet - up to 1/3 as the minimum. The kibbles are designed to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth as your pet bites into them
2. Greenies dental chews help reduce tartar and plaque buildup
3. Dental toys such as rawhide or nylon bones and knotted ropes which clean the teeth and gums and reduce plaque
4. Hard biscuit based pet foods such as HILLS, EUKANUBA and IAMS.
5. Brushing of teeth with commercially available pet toothpastes/brushes has long been considered one of the most effective dental homecare techniques. This should be done at least three to four times a week to maintain dental health. However, in some cats and dogs, this may not be tolerated.
6. Aquadent is a drinking water additive containing chlorhexidine and xylitol that has proven effective in the control of tartar
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd