Keeping your pets breath fresh for life

For some owners the first time that you realise that your pet is suffering from dental disease is when the vet lifts up their lip and shows you the accumulated tartar and associated gum disease.

Reversible or irreversible dental disease

By the time most people come to see a vet specifically about dental disease, a lot of damage is already done. Dental disease at this stage can be irreversible, which means the gums are often redder and there is inflammation extending to the supporting tissues of the tooth. This then leads to tooth loosening and wobbling. These teeth will be very painful for the animal and some may need to be extracted.

However, if the teeth are cleaned and the gums allowed to settle , and so long as there is no other sign of disease, many teeth can be left in place. Although the disease already done may not be reversible, scaling and polishing the teeth will stop it from getting worse. This is where you as the owner is so important. 

Prevention is better than cure

Once an animals teeth have been cleaned and removed where appropriate, for the sake of the animal and your pocket it is best to implement preventative measures to stop the same thing happening a few years down the line. This is especially important in older pets where we want to avoid anaesthetics unless necessary (however, if an older animal is in pain with dental disease it should still be treated with a carefully planned anaesthetic). There are many different products on the market to help prevent tartar build up, but the gold standard is tooth brushing and feeding a dry food.

The nurses at Didcot and Cholsey can show owners the different dental products available to them and train you how to toothbrush train your cat or dog. If you would like to book in with them then please phone the surgery you wish to attend.


Jade Lawrence graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2014 and worked in a busy practice in London before joining Larkmead 2015. Jade enjoys seeing all animals, but is particularly interested in dentistry, dermatology and medicine. Jade has recently adopted a kitten called Kerby.