Dental Health is one of the most important but understated aspects of veterinary medicine.

I wish I had a nickel for every time a client asked me what animals do in “the wild” when it comes to dental procedures and dental health.  Regardless of which species of animal we are speaking of, the answer is the same.  The one with the best teeth wins.  Nature has natural selection to weed out problem teeth or problem mouths.   Of course, human kind has interceded with nature and created a few breed combinations and genetic lines that are not the best in terms of oral health.  There are many factors that affect dental health but lets also not forget diet as a key source of problems.  We love to feed our animals in a way that is not always natural for them.  Horses naturally graze 20 hours of the day and dogs and cats do not eat from a can.  Thankfully, we can provide assistance to keep their mouths in good shape despite natural variations.  After all, longevity is the goal, right?  Not natural selection.

 

Dogs and cats often need to have the tartar scaled off and their teeth polished and made hunting ready.  Of course if a tooth gets infected and there is gum disease, it is healthier to get that tooth out and remove a source of bacteria that can lead to systemic disease.  Heart failure, kidney disease and other major issues can occur from a “bad tooth”.

 

Horses need regular dental exams to determine if sharp points due to irregular grinding of forage and feed need to be smoothed off.  This is called floating.  We float teeth to remove sources of pain when the horse eats or is ridden.  Additional dental problems like improper alignment, broken teeth, loose teeth or infected teeth also need to be addressed in order to maintain a healthy and pain free mouth.  These problems can easily lead to a misbehaving horse, loss of weight, or food waste.

 

Dental health is all apart of having happy healthy animals that eat pain free and live long healthy lives.