There are more benefits to a healthy smile than looking good and smelling fresh. Regular brushing can help prevent disease, infection, and tooth loss. All of these benefits are as important to our pets as they are to their owners. Unfortunately one of the most common problems pets have is periodontal disease, even though it is easily preventable. Consistent brushing can help prevent this, along with many other infections that start with oral bacteria.
When an animal eats, food can become trapped between teeth. This left over food provides an excellent source of nourishment for bacteria. The combination of food and bacteria becomes plaque which contains millions of living bacteria. Plaque sticks to teeth so well that it can’t simply be washed away with water, and because of this our pets end up with bad breath and something even worse for their mouths than bacteria called tartar. Tarter is very hard and can’t be simply brushed away like plaque, and as it builds it provides an ideal location for bacteria to grow and infect your pet’s gums. Once there, they can work their way into the blood stream and through the rest of the animal’s body. Proper dental care is very important to having a healthy pet.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the easiest way to remove plaque and prevent periodontal disease. It is important to use special toothpaste for your pet because regular toothpaste will irritate an animals stomach if swallowed. There are also special toothbrushes for pets as well, but any soft bristled brush will do fine. Remember to brush along the gum line and the entire tooth as well. Be gentle with your strokes to not cause any discomfort. Brushing after every meal would be ideal but as it isn’t always practical it is important to remember that brushing as often as possible is key to preventing oral problems. If your pet seems to be in excessive pain or is bleeding, have your pet examined by a veterinarian.
Your pet should have a dental exam as often as you do, twice a year. Your pet should also have periodic professional cleanings to remove any tarter that has build up. Under anesthesia, your pet will have tarter removed and its teeth polished. This type of preventative care will help keep your pet from getting infections or having teeth removed.
It is also important to remember that only your vet can properly clean your pet’s teeth. A grooming salon may brush them but that can’t replace regular brushing and periodic care by a professional.