(Family Features) A shiny coat and bright eyes are signs your pet is in good health, but his or her mouth may tell another story. Especially if your pet is on a regular dosage of medication, he may experience dry mouth or other oral health issues.

In fact, one of the leading causes for dry mouth and some other oral health issues can be certain medications, which can have a negative effect on the production of healthy saliva. That lack of healthy saliva, or even a reduction in its protective quality, can cause bacteria and fungi to grow in a pet’s mouth. This can lead to dry mouth, which in turn can lead to issues like bad breath, excess plaque accumulation, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Some common medications that can affect a pet’s oral health include behavior medications; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, such as those used to treat osteoarthritis; antihistamines; heart disease or blood pressure medications; urinary incontinence medications and chemotherapeutics.

It can be easy to overlook problems caused by dry mouth because some dogs still drool despite the issue. Whether you suspect a problem or just want to take preventive measures, protecting and improving your pet’s oral health is a multi-step approach. Following these steps can help pets enjoy better oral health while also receiving the medications they need.

Schedule regular cleanings. Having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a trained veterinarian can help stop problems before they start, as a vet may be able to identify emerging issues during a cleaning before they become a more serious concern. If problems do arise, a veterinarian can help you establish a care plan to correct your pet’s oral health.

Provide ample drinking water. It may seem obvious that your pet needs daily water, but for a pet with dry mouth, it’s exceedingly important to provide plenty of access to fresh water. Offer bowls in multiple locations indoors and out. In addition, specially formulated water additives can help eliminate bacteria and reduce plaque buildup.

Deliver oral care every day. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is a good place to start, but it isn’t always a realistic solution, and for pets on medications, brushing every day may still not be enough. Another option to help combat dry mouth is Zymox Oratene Brushless Oral Care, which can destroy germs that cause bad breath, eliminate the plaque biofilm that can lead to tartar and provide a therapeutic benefit for pets on medications. The line includes a toothpaste gel, breath freshener and drinking water additive.

Establish a routine. Maintaining a daily schedule can help your pet get used to the different ways that you manage his or her oral health. This may include adding moisture to food or using products designed to promote good oral health, such as breath freshener sprays that wash and protect teeth or brushless products that make it easy to establish a daily routine.

Find more solutions to protect your pet’s oral health at zymox.com.

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