SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Most U.S. adults say they brush their teeth daily but few pet owners brush their pets' teeth, even though pet dental hygiene is important, experts say.
"Most people have no idea that dental health is so important to their pets," Dr. Larry Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said in a statement. "In fact, veterinarians report that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. This can lead to painful infections of the mouth, and in severe cases these infections can spread and become life-threatening conditions.
"The American Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging all dog and cat owners to regularly brush their pet's teeth and regularly see their veterinarian for checkups."
The AVMA offers an informative video giving step-by-step instructions on how to brush a pet's teeth at www.petdental.com.
"Periodontal disease, an infection of the gums, is incredibly common in pets, and it can be quite serious," Dr. Brook Niemiec, a board certified veterinary dental specialist, said. "It's estimated that by the age of 2, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease, which has been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by regularly brushing your pet's teeth and regularly visiting a veterinarian."