Delaying Dental Care Leads To Multiple Organ Damage

Winston came to see me for what was supposed to be a routine physical examination and vaccination visit.

As it turned out, Winston had a “leftover” problem from his last visit, 14 months ago.

At that time we had recommended a dental scaling and polishing because of substantial calculus buildup and gum disease, also known as gingivitis. This visit both the calculus and the gum disease were worse.

Winston’s is not an uncommon situation as we lead our busy lives.

Richie's biggest crushing tooth and associated gum are diseased, but the molar behind it is beyond saving.
Richie’s biggest crushing tooth and associated gum are diseased, but the molar behind it is beyond saving.

Further, Winston’s family is expecting a human addition in a couple of months, so planning is crucial to efficient use of time now more than ever.

As advocates for Winston, and all of our patients, we try to do our part to reach clients to remind them of needed care we have recommended, but it’s ultimately up to the pet owner to make the appointment.

What happens to Winston in the interim?

If his owners are able to brush his teeth they can slow the buildup of new calculus, but existing calculus remains in place. The massaging action of frequent (daily is suggested) brushing stimulates healing blood flow through the gums and slows the damage and recession of the gums. Still, however, gingivitis advances because existing calculus continues to damage the gums.

On the other hand, in the absence of toothbrushing not only does gum disease advance, but new calculus damages the gums even more, leading to an acceleration of gingivitis.

Likewise, Richie (pictured above) has dental calculus and gum disease, and if allowed to persist, will lead to a worsening of his oral signs. Just as important, damage can and will occur in the heart, kidneys and liver, too.

We humans first think of good oral health in terms of pleasing breath and a pretty smile. Bad oral health, on the other hand, is so much more, because the entire body is affected.

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