Cats and dogs need regular dental examinations, but large breed dogs rarely need dental cleanings. Veterinary dental cleanings remove disease-causing plaque from teeth before it hardens into brown, foul-smelling tartar. Persistent plaque damages teeth and gums. Oral bacteria, residing in plaque, sheds through the blood stream infecting heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and the immune system. Bad breath and other symptoms such as an inflamed gum line (gingivitis), bad breath, bleeding gums, tooth loss, or a brownish-colored crust along the gum line signify gum disease (periodontitis). Research shows that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of four have oral disease and that pets that receive regular dental cleanings live longer, healthier lives.