COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Centennial Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO is educating pet owners about the importance of regular veterinary dental cleanings for preventing gum disease in pets. According to Colorado Springs veterinarian Dr. Mike Stahl, the majority of pets four years or older suffer from periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss and bacterial gum infections. The best way to prevent oral health problems in pets is with an annual professional dental cleaning at an animal hospital.

Colorado Springs veterinarian Dr. Mike Stahl is warning pet owners about the dangers of gum disease in pets. Without regular dental care, pets are at risk for tooth loss, bacterial gum infections, and other serious oral health problems.

"Oral health problems are very common in pets," said Dr. Stahl. "In fact, more than 85% of pets four years or older have periodontal disease. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realize their pets have an oral health problem until serious damage has already occurred. The best way to prevent oral health problems, like tooth loss and infection, is to make dental care part of regular veterinary services."

According to Dr. Stahl, pets should have their teeth professionally cleaned every year. Removing tartar build up will reduce the risk for bacterial infections and other health complications.

In addition to an annual dental cleaning, Dr. Stahl also recommends pet owners taken an active role in protecting their pet's oral health with at-home pet care. Weekly brushings are an effective way to keep the teeth clean and protect the gums from infection. Dr. Stahl says that pet owners should not ignore a pet's bad or foul smelling breath.

"Bad breath is the first warning sign of an oral health problem," said Dr. Stahl. "Other symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth or missing teeth, and a reluctance to eat hard food or chew on toys."

Should pet owners recognize any of these symptoms in their dogs and cats, Dr. Stahl recommends scheduling an immediate pet dentistry appointment.

"Prompt pet care is the best way to prevent a serious bacterial infection," said Dr. Stahl. "With treatment, a bacterial infection that starts in the gums can easily enter the bloodstream and affect internal organs."

Bacterial infections that start in the gums can ultimately damage the liver, kidney, lungs and heart. Should the infections reach an advanced stage, a sick dog or cat may need emergency pet care.

"While a dental cleaning may not seem like much, it can significantly reduce a pet's risk for health problems," said Dr. Stahl. "This is why annual cleanings are critical."

In addition to pet dentistry, Dr. Stahl and the Colorado Springs veterinary team provide comprehensive veterinary services, including vaccinations and surgery. Pet owners can learn more about these veterinary services, as well as how to prevent how to prevent periodontal disease in pets, by visiting

Centennial Animal Hospital