According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats exhibit dental disease by age three. Dental disease that’s not addressed causes infections and other problems elsewhere in the body. With good dental care, you can prevent these problems. Professional cleaning, when needed, is done under general anesthesia. The crowns of the teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, and the portions of the teeth under the gums are hand-scaled to remove plaque that would otherwise damage the gums. The teeth are polished to produce a smooth surface to which plaque cannot easily attach, and all debris is flushed from under the gums. Finally, the veterinarian thoroughly examines the pet’s mouth and charts all findings in detail. Teeth are extracted only if necessary to ensure the health of the rest of the mouth. Good dental care keeps your pet’s mouth sweet-smelling and free of pain -– and helps the rest of your pet’s body remain healthy, too. If your veterinarian recommended professional dental cleaning, schedule it now and receive 10 percent off to celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month. Better yet, win a free dental cleaning (exam and cleaning; extractions not included) by entering the Show Us Your Smile contest we described earlier. And when the month is over, remember that good dental care is a year-round endeavor.