Periodontal disease affects more than just the mouth. It can negatively affect a pet’s organs as well.
The formation of plaque on teeth leads not only to calculus or tartar buildup but also to gingivitis. And if gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress into more advanced periodontal disease. Reports have shown that chronic periodontal disease causes problems in the heart, kidneys, and liver. Recent studies have shown a correlation between oral disease and systemic diseases in people, and researchers now have a better understanding of how oral disease affects the systemic health of dogs and cats.
The bacteria in the oral cavity of a pet with periodontal disease are released into the circulatory system when the pet eats, and then they travel throughout the body. This can cause damage to cardiac tissue and lead to endocarditis. Studies have shown a link among bacteremias originating from oral infections and cerebral and myocardial infarctions and histological changes. There are also studies that link periodontal disease to an increase in insulin resistance.
Dental disease can also affect the liver and kidneys as these organs filter out the bacteria that enter the bloodstream when pets with periodontal disease eat their meals. When bacteria invade the kidneys, they damage the glomerular membranes, causing them to function improperly. Bacteria also can cause functional changes in the liver of dogs.
Because of periodontal disease’s effect on overall health, it’s more than a localized problem that leads to bad breath and tooth loss-it’s also the beginning of more severe systemic issues. By paying attention to oral health, professional dental cleanings, and home dental care you are ensuring a healthier life for your pets.