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      Dental Health Tips for Pet Owners

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      The month ofFebruary is National Pet Dental Health Month and doctors want pet-parents to talkto their family veterinarians about good dental hygiene for their fury friends.

      "We need toget out of the habit of waiting to treat problems once they occur," said Dr. Gary Modrcin, aboard-certified dentist and oral surgeon with BluePearl. "Instead, peopleshould focus on preventing problems, which means less expensive procedures andless pain for your furry friends."

      According toPetMD.com, over 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent ofcats will show signs of dental disease by the time they are 3-years-old.

      Ideally, petdentists recommend that pets to have an oral exam that includes dental X-raysat least once a year. Regular daily brushing is also recommended.

      Modrcin saidthe same rules apply for pets as they do for people and poor dental health canhave lasting effects on pets just as in people. Diabetes, inflammatory diseasesand autoimmune diseases can all be exacerbated by dental disease.

      Moreimportantly, local pain and infection is very significant with dental diseases,though most pets will not show signs of oral pain. Instead, it isn't untilafter treatment that most owners will notice a significant difference in theirpet's behavior.

      While mostsigns are not recognizable until it's too late, symptoms of dental problems caninclude, bad breath, brown teeth, pawing or rubbing at the face and mouth,swollen or red gums or hesitation to eat hard foods.

      "If you areever in doubt of, or questioning your pet's health, make sure you contact yourveterinarian as soon as possible," Modrcin said.

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