pets

Your Pet's Smile Matters, Too!

March 5th, 2019

Pets, otherwise known as the cute protectors and furry additions to the family, face some of the same dental problems that we do as humans. In fact, oral disease is the most common major health problem of cats and dogs. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 70% of cats and 80% of dogs exhibit signs of oral disease by the age of 3. Although tooth decay remains the top oral problem that humans experience, pets primarily develop periodontal disease and fractures of teeth.

The same rules of dental disease that apply to us also apply to our furry companions. It may be easy to forget that your pet's teeth are also a part of their overall health and well-being. Dogs and cats in particular often experience a buildup of tartar, a form of hardened dental plaque caused by bacteria, when their teeth are not cleaned overtime. This buildup of tartar eventually leads to gum irritation and bone loss that exposes the roots of their teeth. The harmful bacteria can then enter the bloodstream and affect systemic organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Your pet may be dealing with pain that you may not have noticed before. Some of the signs of dental disease that your pet may experience can include:

    • Lethargy or inactivity
    • Excessive salivation
    • Decreased or loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Problems eating
    • Mouth sores
    • Facial swelling
    • Discharge from the nose or eyes
    • Pawing at the face
    • Teeth becoming loose or falling out

On the bright side, gum disease and oral health problems can be prevented in pets! According to the American Veterinary Dental College, here is what you may see in each stage of progressive periodontal disease in your furry loved one and steps you can take to prevent and manage dental disease:

1.Stage 0 and Stage 1 Periodontal Disease:

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends regular oral exams with X-rays and dental cleanings at least once a year beginning at the age of 1 for cats and small-breed dogs, and at 2 years old for larger-breed dogs. In addition, daily tooth brushing with a regular soft-bristled human tooth brush is recommended or a minimum of 3-4 times per week. It may take some patience because it can take your pet some time for them to get accustomed to the practice too!

2. Stage 2 Periodontal Disease:

It is important to take your pet to get their teeth professionally cleaned as soon as possible in order to prevent further bone loss and to reduce the gum swelling and infection.

3. Stage 3 Periodontal Disease:

There is now moderate bone loss and gum inflammation. The treatment options at this stage may include tooth extraction or advanced procedures done by the veterinary dentist, along with regular dental home care.

4. Stage 4 Periodontal Disease:

Advanced bone loss greater than 50% and tartar buildup which will require tooth extractions.

Other tips include selecting quality food (look for a Veterinary Oral Health Council  (VOHC)-approved stamp on the bag). Also try to avoid hard toys or treats to help prevent tooth fractures.

 

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://avdc.org/AFD/five-stages-of-pet-periodontal-disease/

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/small-animal/community-practice/Pages/pet-dental-health.aspx

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/perlis-gum-disease-dogs#3

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Reap the Potential Benefits of Coconut Oil

February 11th, 2016

cYou may have heard about oil pulling in the news, on blogs, or from friends. This latest trend is actually an old Indian oral therapy dating back 3,000 years! It's an inexpensive practice that involves the gentle swishing of approximately 1 tablespoon of oil through the teeth for about 10 minutes daily before rinsing out. However, it should be well noted that this procedure should never replace brushing, flossing, and other daily dental habits.

Research has found that coconut oil may be effective in keeping our mouths healthy. It was tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are often found in the oral cavity and aid in producing acids that cause tooth decay. The study reported that the oil was able to fight off cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. A beneficial ingredient of coconut oil is lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents that help defeat gingivitis, plaque, and microbes that cause bad breath.

Not to mention, recently, there has been news of individuals using coconut oil as toothpaste (for both humans and pets!). The suggested reasons behind this trend are that coconut oil does not contain harmful antibacterial chemicals, for example triclosan, which are sometimes found in traditional toothpastes. These harmful chemicals have raised concerns about antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption. In addition, coconut oil is believed to help maintain a healthier balance of lipids on your tongue in comparison to some toothpastes. Toothpastes often contain chemicals that create the foam-like texture of the toothpaste, including sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). These chemicals interfere with phospholipids found on the tongue, which as a result can create a bitter taste in your mouth. Research has found that SLS may even negatively impact the health of individuals with recurring canker sores. However, further research is needed to prove the effectiveness of using coconut oil as toothpaste.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/the-4-best-uses-for-coconut-1343871427731510.html

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/oil-pulling

More Pets = Less Stress = Healthy Teeth!

February 2nd, 2016

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Do you have a pet? Well, good news! Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that pet dogs can decrease stress levels in children, which can have a positive impact on oral health as well. If you're looking for something to add to your family wishlist, make sure to include "cute puppies!"

How can dogs can improve our health?

They may help reduce social anxiety

Pets such as dogs follow human communication cues and help spark conversation. They also provide comfort and self-esteem to children, which can lead to emotional development. Through animal-assisted therapy (AAT), dogs improve attachment and decrease separation anxiety in children. This can result in improved mental health and decreased risk of developmental disorders (emotional, behavioral, and mental) during adolescence and later on.

They may decrease stress

According to a study conducted by researchers from Bassett Medical Center in New York, 21% of children who did not have pet dogs had anxiety, while only 12% of the children who interacted with dogs at home were tested positive for anxiety. Playing with dogs can reduce cortisol levels and release oxytocin, which helps decrease physiologic responses to stress.

How does stress affect oral health, you ask?

  1. Stress is linked to canker sores, grinding of teeth, poor hygiene, dryness, TMJ, gum disease, and burning mouth syndrome.
  2. It can result in chronically high cortisol levels, which can lead to a weaker immune system. This can make it more likely for plaque bacteria to attack the gums.
  3. There is a strong connection between stress and periodontal or gum disease, which can cause tooth loss.
  4. You may not brush or floss as frequently!

Make sure to take care of your teeth properly and don't get too stressed out. Get a pet dog for bonus points!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303276.php

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17668968

http://awomanshealth.com/stress-and-oral-health/

https://blog-photos.dogvacay.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/baby-flash-games-211.jpg

Protect the Smiles of Your Furry Friends

February 27th, 2015

Did you know that “doggie breath” is not normal? Well, it's true! If your pet has bad breath, it can be a symptom of an oral health problem, including tooth decay and gum disease. Oral health issues can be a common issue for many pets. In fact, approximately 70% of cats & 80% of dogs have some degree of periodontal diseaseLuckily, Pet Dental Month has brought awareness and tips for solving these common issues. Here are a few facts and tips to chew on about how to keep your cat and dog's mouths healthy.

First of all, ask your veterinarian to inspect your pet's teeth. Your vet may give you pointers on the specific needs of your pet. Then at home, you can regularly take these simple steps to help maintain your cat or dog's healthy mouth.

You can help keep your pet healthy by regularly inspecting their mouth. For instance, check their gums. They should be pink, not white or red. They should not be swollen. Often, signs of an arising oral health issue can include bad breath, difficulty chewing, pain, or discolored saliva.

You can also use special toothpaste and mouthwash for your pet. Many toothpastes are made specially for cats or dogs. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions. If your puppy is less than six months old, don't use toothpaste that contains fluoride. If it's your first time brushing your cat or dog's teeth, first help them get used to the sensations. For a couple weeks, massage their gums with your finger or a cotton swab daily. Be sure to use toothbrushes made specifically for cats or dogs.

You can also try pet foods made to help remove plaque. Be sure to give your cat hard food, not soft food. Your cat or dog's sharply shaped molars are designed for chewing hard food, which can be healthy for their teeth. Canned pet foods often contribute tooth decay, as they can get lodged between teeth and contribute to dental plaque.

What is the most enjoyable way to keep your cat and dog's teeth healthy? Give them chew toys! These can help keep their teeth strong, and they can remove plaque.

Taking these steps, you can help keep your beloved pet healthy. Your pet's breath will smell better, and we are sure you'll be happy about that!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-dental-care/Brush-Up-on-Your-Pets-Oral-Care.aspx

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/ten-steps-your-dogs-dental-health

http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/10-steps-cat-dental-health?page=2

http://qvvh.com/pet-dental-health-month-3-fast-facts/

http://annsbarkavenue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/laughing-cat-and-dog.jpg

Caring for Your Pet's Oral and Overall Health

February 11th, 2014

cats dogs dental teeth breathAs much as it is important to take care of your own teeth, how have your pets been doing in terms of oral health?

Along with featuring children’s dental health on a national level, the month of February also celebrates Pet Dental Month. When pet owners trek out to go shopping for pet food, their focus usually is placed on whether their pet will readily consume the food. But from a dental health standpoint, it is important to consider the relationship between a pet’s diet and their overall oral health.


Taking care of pets’ teeth doesn't usually take priority on the list of things to do as a pet owner, and surveys show that less than 1/3 of pet owners regularly take time out to care for their pet’s teeth. 80% of adult cats and dogs usually have some dental issues, including plaque or tarter build up, cavities and gum disease. Because pet owners do not regularly examine their pets’ teeth, bad oral health in pets can lead to very serious or even life threatening oral illnesses.

When looking at pets’ overall health, it is also important to determine if the ingredients incorporated in their food is appropriate and healthy. Cats are considered obligate carnivores, needing a diet sufficient of meat to maintain overall health. Cats are unable to convert what they need to be healthy from just any food source; nutrition specifically needs to come from meat. Dogs are considered to be obligate omnivores. They can eat a part grain diet and survive; however, dogs do best when they are offered a diet rich in protein.

Here are a few tips to consider when caring for a pet’s oral and overall health:

  • Be aware: If a pet has foul breath, it is likely that there is an arising oral health issue. Foul breath in pets have been related to gum disease and/or tooth decay
  • Going in for a yearly checkup is very important; if issues go unchecked, they can lead to serious health problems down the road
  • It is possible to get your pet used to getting their teeth cleaned; the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that cat owners start training their kittens by using a finger cot or gauze to clean their gums.

 Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be more than happy to answer your questions, thoughts, or concerns about oral health. Please feel free to contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com.

 References:

http://www.petmd.com/cat/slideshows/grooming/top-ten-tips-on-how-to-keep-your-cats-teeth-clean
http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2014/02/02/pet-food-choice-affects-more-meets-eyetooth
http://dujardindesign.com/wp-content/uploads/dogs-and-cats.jpg
https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/February-is-National-Pet-Dental-Health-Month.aspx

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