DID YOU KNOW?
Just like humans, puppies and kittens develop a full set of baby teeth that are then replaced with adult teeth when they grow up!
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth. These teeth erupt at approximately 2-4 weeks of age. Their adult teeth then begin to emerge at approximately 4 months of age once the corresponding puppy tooth is shed. As adults, dogs have 42 permanent teeth!
Kittens have 26 temporary teeth. These teeth erupt at approximately 2-6 weeks of age. Their adult teeth then begin to emerge at approximately 4-6 months of age once the corresponding kitten tooth is shed. As adults, cats have 30 permanent teeth!
TYPES OF TEETH
There are 4 different types of teeth – incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Each tooth is shaped and positioned in the jaw to deliver a particular function.
The incisors are located at the very front of the jaw, and they are used for prehension, nibbling and grooming. The canines are located next to the incisors, and they are used for holding objects in their mouths and for puncturing. Following the canines is the premolars, and they are used for tearing and chewing. Finally, there is the molars, which are positioned towards the back of the jaw. They are used for crushing and grinding.
CROWN VS ROOT
The tooth itself can divided into 2 sections - the crown and the root. The crown is the area that is visible above the gum line and the root is the area that we can’t see, as it lies below the gum line. Each tooth sits in a socket in the bone called an alveolar socket and is held firmly in place by ligaments, cementum, soft tissue and bone.
INSIDE THE TOOTH
Each tooth itself is made up of three substances – pulp, dentine, and enamel. Pulp lies within the center of the tooth and contains cells, nerves, and blood vessels. Dentine covers the pulp and composes the main bulk of the root, providing a layer between the pulp and the enamel on the crown of the tooth. Enamel covers the crown of the tooth, protecting the tooth and the underlying dentine.
Did you know that by three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease? It is the most common clinical condition that occurs in adult dogs and cats, and it is entirely preventable.
There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease. Some signs include halitosis (bad breath), plaque/calculus buildup, inflammation of the gums, difficulty chewing, and oral discomfort.
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva then harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tartar above the gum line is obvious to many owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease.
The real problem develops as plaque and calculus spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this ‘sub-gingival’ plaque set in motion a cycle of damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually leading to loss of the tooth. Bacteria under the gum line secrete toxins, which contribute to the tissue damage if untreated.
Prevention is key. Some methods of prevention include: regular dental exams, periodic cleaning, chews, rinses, and water additives. However, just brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is by far the best way to prevent any sort of damage or disease.
Poor oral health can not only affect your pets teeth, it can also seriously compromise your pet’s overall health. Examples of organs commonly affected by periodontal disease are the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Protect your pets overall health by giving them the oral care they need!
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to call us at (289)837-0100.
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