Why is it so important to keep a dog or cat's teeth clean?
Long-term health studies have proven that good dental care will add 3-5 years to your pet's life span. 70% of all dogs and cats over 3 years of age have PERIODONTAL DISEASE, characterized by tartar, ginvigitis, halitosis (bad breath) and oral pain. Bad breath and periodontal disease is NOT normal in dogs and cats--they are a phenomenon of domestication. Wild carnivores, who catch, kill, and consume their food, have very clean teeth as a result of their hunting and eating activities. Domestic pets don't have to hunt anything but their food bowls. The tartar and gingivitis that results cause several problems.
Obviously, the tartar is unsightly; it also is a breeding ground for bacteria, and irritates the gums and other oral tissues severely. The gingivitis that accompanies tartar formation is very painful, and seeds bacteria into the pet's blood stream every time it licks/chews/swallows. These bacteria have a predilection for invading the tissues of the heart, the liver and the kidneys. Pets with chronic gingivitis are at high risk for endocarditis, chronic active hepatitis, and chronic renal inflammation. These health problems, secondary to periodontal disease and gingivitis, are a major cause of premature aging and early death in our pets.