Tooth Truth! Your Pet's Bad Breath Could be a Warning

Pet Dental Infographic

January 18, 2018 - Cleveland, OH - February is designated as National Pet Dental Health Month, and there is far more to know about pet dental health than "feeding dry food helps." In addition to sparkling fresh breath, keeping your pet's teeth and gums in good shape has many health benefits. Now is the time to schedule that checkup for your pet to ensure the best dental health possible.

"Dog or cat breath" is often a sign of periodontal disease in pets. The pungent odors coming from your pet's mouth are a sign of uncontrolled persistent infection in the mouth.

At home, the best thing you can do for your pet's teeth is to brush them, which is indeed possible with some patience and determination on your part. To be effective, it needs to be done at least every other day. In addition to regular brushing, you can supplement your pet's dental routine with dental treats, water additives, and rubber dog toys.

Some "Tooth Truth" dental facts:

  • The majority of discolored teeth are no longer alive and are sources of infection waiting to progress.

  • The most common oral malignancy in dogs is the malignant melanoma, but most oral masses in dogs are benign.

  • Many oral tumors in cats are malignant (squamous cell carcinoma).

  • Small dogs are more likely to develop periodontal disease than large breed dogs because their teeth are often too large for their mouths.

  • Without proper dental care, far more than half of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age three.

  • Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats seen by veterinarians.

Periodontal disease starts when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way through the gums and cause gingivitis. Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver. Untreated periodontal disease is extremely dangerous, and can even be fatal.

A professional veterinary dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from your pet's teeth and under their gum tissue. With a professional dental cleaning and proper follow-up care, gingivitis is reversible. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but diligent at-home dental care and regular veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the condition.

Of course, the goal should be preventing dental problems rather than having to fix them. Getting teeth cleaned before they go past the point of no return gives veterinarians a chance to save them, and is much less expensive for you and easier for your pet.

"Your pet's teeth are an essential part of their overall well-being," says Chris Hagesfeld, president of Embrace Pet Insurance. "Embrace understands this and continually takes strides to ensure that pet parents have options for being proactive with their pet's dental health. Embrace offers Wellness Rewards that can be added to any accident and illness policy to help pay for dental care."

Don't delay! Periodontal disease is progressive and painful. The key to optimum pet oral health is regular teeth cleaning and establishing a daily home-care routine.

About Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance is an Ohio-based pet health insurance provider, offering comprehensive, personalized insurance products for dogs and cats across the United States. Embrace is consistently ranked as one of the highest-rated U.S. pet insurance companies and is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Embrace is the only company to offer a diminishing deductible feature, the Healthy Pet Deductible, and continues to innovate and improve the pet insurance experience for pet parents across the country. For more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, visit or call (800) 511-9172.

About the North American Pet Health Insurance Association

Embrace is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). NAPHIA is comprised of reputable pet health insurance (PHI) organizations from across Canada and the United States. NAPHIA's membership makes up over 99% of all pet health insurance coverage in effect in North America.

As a coalition, NAPHIA works to advance and grow the PHI industry through proactive research, data sharing, benchmarking initiatives, advocacy efforts, strategic partnerships, resource sharing and the dissemination of information to collaboratively address challenges and opportunities. To learn more, visit