Teeth are anchored in periodontal tissues consisting of gingiva (gums), ligaments, cementum, and supporting bone. More than 85% of dogs and cats older than four years have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease starts with the formation of plaque, a transparent, adhesive fluid composed of bacteria. Plaque starts forming within eight hours after a thorough dental cleaning.
When plaque is not removed, mineral salts, in the saliva, precipitate forming hard calculus. Calculus is irritating to gingival tissue. By-products of the bacteria “eat away” the tooth’s support structures eventually causing pain and periodontal disease.