Oral health: It's about more than bad breath


Helping clients understand the link between oral health and overall pet health should get more pet owners interested in veterinary dental care.

You've probably heard that periodontal disease can negatively affect a pet's organs. You may have even told clients about this risk. But to really drive home the message, you might want to take the information a step further by briefly explaining how this happens.

After letting pet owners know that periodontal disease can harm a dog's or cat's heart, kidneys, and liver, follow up with a statement like this: "Unchecked plaque in your pet's mouth allows bacteria to flourish or overgrow, causing periodontal disease. These bacteria can enter the blood stream through lesions in a pet's diseased gums. And it doesn't always take advanced disease for this to happen. Once in the blood stream, the bacteria can travel throughout the body and potentially impact your pet's organs."

Simple explanations like this reflect only a small portion of the complex science involved in the link between oral disease and systemic health. For more information about the science, including study references, visit dvm360.com/systemiclink.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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