Tartar accumulation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease can have serious negative consequences on the overall health of dogs and cats. Premature loss of teeth are the obvious concern, but bacteria can explode in numbers from an unhealthy mouth and have the potential to hitch a ride in the bloodstream due to the vascular nature of the gums. This is known as bacterial translocation. Once they reach vital organs like the heart valves, liver, spleen, kidneys, joints, and even the brain, they may take up residence and cause major dysfunction or even death in extreme cases. The entire staff at Glacier Animal Hospital is dedicated to the concept that good oral hygiene can add years to your pet’s life. A thorough oral exam is a core focus of each pet’s annual wellness visit, and our veterinarians will help you determine if your dog or cat should have a professional dental cleaning. This is done under brief anesthesia and includes an ultrasonic scaling to remove the tartar followed by a polish of all the teeth. Home oral care such as daily brushing, the use of oral rinses designed to slow the build-up of plaque, and tartar control treats or chews can significantly prevent or reduce the incidence or severity of disease in the oral cavity. Our veterinarians will be happy to discuss or demonstrate these various methods to keep your pet’s mouth healthy which can literally add years to his or her life.