What are the warning signs for serious gum disease?
Unfortunately, most pets won’t complain outwardly about their dental issues until severe problems have set in. So we must be vigilant and actively look for signs of dental disease in our furry friends. It is always better to use preventative dental care and catch dental issues earlier.
In addition to scheduling regular veterinary dental exams every six months, learn to recognize the following warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease:
Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is one of the most obvious signs of gum disease. If you can smell your pet’s mouth before you can cuddle up to him/her, then there is clearly a problem! That foul odor is a result of bacterial products involved in periodontal disease and should serve as a wake-up call to any pet owner that something isn’t right inside your pet’s mouth.
Lift up your pet’s lip and discover what dental issues lie underneath! Plaque and calculus are the result of bacterial products and will appear as discolorations on the tooth surface. Tartar and calculus are often yellow to brown in color. Green colored teeth are a sign of advanced dental disease and should be addressed as soon as possible.
In the average healthy pet mouth, the gums should be a nice, healthy pink color. Bright red or bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease. It should be noted that some animals can normally have black pigmentation on their gums. For these pets, you should recognize what is normal for him/her and monitor for any changes of discoloration, swelling, or recession of the gum tissue.
Changes in behavior
You know your pet’s everyday behavior best and may pick up some subtle signs that a dental problem is brewing. Keep an eye out for changes in your pet’s appetite or activity. Watch for reluctance in chewing on toys or treats. Monitor for a lack of interest in food, or a reluctance to eat hard food items. Watch for excessive drooling and pawing at the mouth, which can be signs of advanced problems and oral pain. See your veterinarian promptly if you detect any of these behaviors.