Two steps to take if your dog is diagnosed with gum disease

If your dog has been diagnosed with gum disease by your vet, here are two steps you should take.

1. Get the plaque removed from their teeth by a vet that specialises in veterinary dentistry.

Lots of dog owners who discover that their pets have this condition make the mistake of simply increasing the length and frequency with which they brush their dog's teeth in the hopes that this will lead to the disease going into remission.

However, if your pet already has periodontal disease, brushing their teeth more thoroughly probably won't be enough to resolve it. The reason for this is as follows: gum disease almost always develops as a result of the formation of extensive amounts of tartar in the mouth. Tartar is dental plaque in its solidified form. This substance is highly inflammatory and is what causes a dog's gums to shrink and bleed.

Because of how solid tartar is, any attempts you make to remove it from your dog's teeth with a toothbrush are likely to be futile. As such, you must have your dog undergo a tooth-cleaning at your local veterinary dentistry clinic. The vet at this clinic will use a small but very sharp dental blade to remove the layer of tartar from each of your pet's teeth.

The removal of this inflammation-generating substance will allow your dog's gums to heal (provided you continue to brush their teeth every day, to stop more tartar from forming).

2. Increase the frequency of their health check-ups until the disease goes into remission.

During the period when your dog's gums are still inflamed, you should arrange for them to undergo a few extra health check-ups at the veterinary clinic. The bacteria that breed when gum disease develops can not only affect your dog's oral health but also the health of other areas of their body. For example, if the bacteria from tartar end up being transmitted to the kidneys or the heart, via the bloodstream, they can damage these organs. If the damage that the pathogens cause isn't detected for many months, it could permanently affect the organs' functionality.

However, if your dog is examined by your vet on a fairly regular basis throughout the healing process, the vet should be able to catch any budding health issues with your pet's organs, and then provide treatment that will stop them from having any serious impact on your dog's quality of life and longevity.