Pet owners should take care of their animal's teeth as it can prolong their life, it has been claimed.
Dr Michael Watts, a US-based companion animal general practitioner and owner of Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care, revealed that poor dental hygiene can result in a number of health problems.
He told starexponent.com: "Inflammation of the oral tissues is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar from bacteria in the mouth.
"This condition is closely associated with many ailments, including kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and liver problems. Some studies suggest that regular dental care can add two to five years to the life of a pet."
Periodontal disease, that which affects the tissue which supports the teeth, is the most common condition in household pets.
According to Dr Watts, around 80 per cent of pets over three years of age have some degree of the condition.