Q – What is Periodontal Disease?
A – Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that is common in companion animals as well as humans. It primarily affects the soft tissues in the mouth (gingivae or gums), but can involve the bony tissues that support the teeth in its more advanced stage. The disease appears as swollen, purplish-red gums that bleed spontaneously and are painful, particularly during chewing.
Q – What causes Periodontal Disease?
A – Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial toxins and metabolic by-products that irritate the gums causing inflammation. These bacterial toxins are typically released upon the death of the microorganisms within the dental plaque.
Q – How does Periodontal Disease Progress?
A – Periodontal disease begins with the accumulation of various bacteria on the surfaces of the teeth, forming dental plaque. Within 1-2 days, the plaque begins to calcify; forming tartar deposits that irritate the gums.
Continuous irritation of the gums causes gingivitis. Gums become reddened, slightly swollen and may bleed when brushed. As the condition becomes worse, periodontitis develops. This causes the gums to become puffy and purplish-red, and bleeding is common. Then, pockets around the teeth develop and the bones supporting the teeth begin to deteriorate, indicating periodontal disease.
Q – How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
A – Periodontal disease must be treated by a veterinarian. It involves a thorough dental cleaning to remove the build-up of dental plaque and tartar, the removal of diseased tissue and debris from periodontal pockets, and the use of antibiotics to control oral bacteria.
Q – How can Periodontal Disease be Prevented?
A – Regular removal of dental plaque prevents the development of tartar, gingivitis and periodontal disease. This may be accomplished by meticulously brushing the animal’s teeth on a regular basis (at least 3 times per week). Although this is the most effective way to prevent periodontal disease, few pet owners are willing or able to regularly brush their pet’s teeth.
Alternative ways to reduce the formation of dental plaque and tartar include:
- Dry diets, as opposed to moist/canned or semi-moist diets, which help remove plaque during chewing
- Rawhide or other similar chew-type products that require significant chewing
- Diets or treats that contain additives that have been clinically proven to reduce the formation of plaque and/or tartar.
Q – What are the ingredients?
A – Water (solvent), Glycerin (Humectant – Adds body, viscosity), Sodium Benzoate (Sequestering agent – Helps loosen plaque film), Sodium Bicarbonate and Sodium Borate (Buffering agent – Ph control and adjustment), Allantoin (Debriding agent – Disrupts protein film), Polysorbate 20 (Surfactant – Softens plaque film, emulsifies, solubizes flavor), Sodium Salicylate (Analgesic – Soothes gums), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (Surfactant / Detergent – Softens plaque film, emulsifies, solubizes flavor)