Message Number: YG4453 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-09 13:31:00 UTC
Subject: Ferret dental hygiene revisited


I recently posted about the effects of gum disease on bodily health.
I have
to make a correction.

Estelle wrote:

>"estellejackson" <estelle.jackson@e...>
>Date: Mon Jun 4, 2001 11:19 pm
>Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] OMG! I'm supposed to be brushing

If a ferret has a lot of plaque build up and/or infection in the
gums there
is a lot of bacteria present in the mouth. When he then breathes in
he is
inhaling this bacteria into his lungs.

I wrote:

>That's not quite correct. The bacteria is not inhaled. When a
person or a
ferret has a periodontal infection (gingivitis or gum disease), the
tissue is inflamed and bleeds quite easily. This allows the bacteria
in the
mouth to enter the blood stream, where it can stick to heart valves
and cause
bacterial endocarditis (a life-threatening infection of the heart).

Although the latter is still true, Estelle is also correct. After a
digging, I found that "scientists have found that bacteria that grow
in the
oral cavity can be aspirated into the lung to cause respiratory
diseases such
as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease. This
leads researchers to believe that these respiratory bacteria can
travel from
the oral cavity to the lungs."

Estelle, I apologize for correcting you. I was unaware of this oral
path of
systemic infection regarding the lungs. It is I that stand
corrected. :-)

Sukie also was wondering about the effects of gum disease on
Actually the effect would be sort of positive. "Severe periodontal
can INCREASE blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time
when the
body functions with high blood sugar. This puts diabetics at
increased risk
for diabetic complications", such as blindness.

Well, although one beneficial side effect does exist for insulinoma,
I don't
think anyone would argue that the risks outweigh the benefits.
Ferrets with
healthy gums are far more likely to be healthier ferrets than those

Take care!

Dodie the Dental Hygienist in South Jersey