Test your knowledge of dental disease

The answers to our dental disease quiz

1. You should brush your dog or cat’s teeth:
A: daily
B: weekly
C: monthly

Ideally you should brush your pet’s teeth daily. The goal of brushing is to remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Once tartar forms, it cannot be brushed off and will need to be scaled off with dental scaling instruments.

2. The single most effective preventive care for teeth is:
A: daily brushing
B: dental diets
C: dental chews

Brushing is the most effective preventive tool. Special diets and treats can help, but proper brushing is much more effective.

3. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will suffer from gum disease by what age?
A: 3 years
B: 6 years
C: 9 years

3 years! We routinely see dental disease starting to develop in very young animals. This occurs even more quickly in pets that are not receiving effective home care such as brushing the teeth.

4. Bones are good for your dogs teeth?

Dogs and (less commonly) cats that are given bones to chew are at great risk to fracturing the crowns of their teeth. This leads to the need for restoration (often including root canal therapy) or extraction.

5. Most tooth extractions in dogs or cats involve oral surgery.

The roots of pet’s teeth are relatively larger than the roots of our teeth (in humans the root is about half as long as the crown, in pets the root is typically about two times the height of the crown). This combined with the fact many of pet’s teeth are multi-rooted and the roots diverge (go in different directions) means that we can rarely just ‘elevate’ a tooth out like is done in people. More commonly, an incision is made in the gum to access the supporting bone. We section the tooth (cut it into portions  and remove some of the supporting bone so that a portion of the crown and its associated root are removed separately. The remaining bone is smoothed and the gum is sutured closed over the extraction site so that there is no open socket that might become impacted with food.

6. Good dental care can extend your pets life by how many years?
A: 1 year
B: 2 years
C: 5 years

Providing dental care is the biggest impact veterinary medicine has made on the quality and quantity of life for pets in the last 50 years. Good dental care actually adds years to their lives!

7. Bad aroma from your pets mouth is:
A: normal
B: not normal but there is nothing that can be done
C: a major indicator of dental disease most of which is very treatable

Bad breath is most commonly the result of dental disease and this can almost always be successfully treated.

8. Dental disease is strongly linked to other disease problems such as heart / lung/ kidney liver and other organ disease.

Dental disease is strongly associated with many other disease problems and seriously compromises a pets’ quality and quantity of life.

9. Adult cats have how many teeth?
A: 24
B: 30
C: 42

10. Adult dogs have how many teeth?
A: 24
B: 30
C: 42