Good dental hygiene key to a pet's overall health

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For immediate release: 02/03/2020

Dental health month flyer(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) February 3, 2020—While the majority of Americans brush their teeth at least twice every day, most of them do far less to prevent dental disease in their pets. Fido or Fluffy's bad breath could signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pet's teeth and gums, but its internal organs as well. To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February and encourages you to schedule a dental exam for your pets.

"Regular dental exams are important to a pet's overall health and can help prevent more serious health problems," said Dr. John Howe, AVMA president. "It is important to have your pet's teeth and gums checked by a veterinarian at least once a year for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet's mouth healthy."

According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth, and depression.

Although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry showed that only 2 percent of dog owners follow through with this practice. In addition, a survey of pet owners showed that only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian's office. Pet owners can work with their veterinarians to begin a pet dental care routine at home, in addition to regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings.

To learn more about dental care for pets, including causes and signs of oral health problems in pets and an instructional video on brushing pets' teeth, visit avma.org/PetDental.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 99,500 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.