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February is Pet Dental Health Month

Posted on February 16, 2012 | in Gum Disease | by

We all know February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, right?

But let’s not forget about our furry (or Mexican Hairless) friends this February, they need to maintain optimal oral health and ward off the cavity creeps too.

You may not think the American Dental Association has anything in common with Veterinary Pet Insurance Company, but that’s the kind of thinking that leads to chronic canine cavities and finicky feline flossing habits!

According to this press release from VPI, American pet owners spend more money on treatment of dental conditions than we do on prevention.

Does that sound familiar?

The article goes on to mention how, Periodontal disease, a condition caused by residual food, bacteria and tartar that collect in the spaces between the gum and tooth (resulting in infection that spreads to the bone), accounted for the most dental claims received by VPI last year—nearly 20,000.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of 3.

Those numbers are eerily similar to how gum disease affects the human population here in the United States too. Here is some periodontal disease info for humans we can really sink our teeth into, courtesy of the American Academy of Periodontology…

Periodontal disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss!

We complain about the elevating cost of health care but when we actually need it the cost is significantly more.

Talk about a catch 22; we have trouble affording the preventative care necessary for maintaining long-term optimal oral health, which in turn, directly leads us down the road of dental dereliction – both for ourselves and our pets.

But just like saving for retirement, a rainy day, or the crash of global economy, we need to factor in dental health care costs as a necessary and regular addition to the piggy bank.

Simple in theory, difficult in practice – that point is probably universal, but the results are difficult to argue with.

Take better care of our teeth and gums, and pass those habits on to our children…and pets!

Check out this interactive gum disease graphic that should be a video, courtesy of the AAP, then go ahead and take their gum disease risk assessment test.

If you still think there’s no correlation between human and pet oral health; tag, synch, download…and check out this podcast (we know you’re dying to) from the American Veterinary Medical Association – a recent survey shows more fat cats & pudgy pooches!

Not only are our collective waistlines expanding, but that trickle-down effect is hampering the health of our beloved pets too!

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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