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Dental secrets

Posted February 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Did you know that the single most important things that can be done to extend your pet’s life is annual anesthetic dental cleaning? Every pet gets problems in the mouth ranging from bacteria-laden tartar to more hidden painful infections.

Bacteria showers microscopically from the gumline to the kidneys, heart, lungs and liver creating disease. This is why pets that have regular anesthetic dental cleanings live two to three years longer.

The idea of bacteria from my beloved pet’s mouth starting a war in vital organs is unacceptable to me. Most clients ask if brushing will be the answer. As people, we brush our teeth twice daily and still get our teeth professionally cleaned every six to 12 months. If we never brushed, this cleaning would be even more important. It’s scary to realize that tartar forms on the teeth and below the gumline in 48 hours and cannot be brushed away. A veterinary dental procedure is the only way to remove this tartar.

An anesthetic dental cleaning is also an opportunity to use dental X-rays to look at the two-thirds of each tooth under the gumline to find the painful processes hiding in 50 percent of pets. Until now, X-rays under anesthesia were the only way to find these hidden pains. We now have a 10-second (non-anesthetic) test that reveals bone-destroying infections. Ask us about this $15 test that shows the secrets hiding in your pet’s mouth. For details and a video about dental health, visit

Information provided by Dr. Jen Emerson-Mathis, Family Pet Veterinary Center, 224-9750, or

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