It’s no secret that pets’ mouths are loaded with bacteria, but all that bacteria can contribute to more than stinky breath. After each meal, plaque and oral bacteria form a sticky film on your pet’s teeth that can turn into rock-solid tartar in only a few days, if not removed. Once accumulated, tartar is difficult to remove without a thorough deep cleaning at the hands of our skilled team. Prevent bacteria-laden plaque and tartar from building up on your pet’s teeth and causing dental disease by battling oral bacteria the following five ways.
#1: Establish a toothbrushing routine for your pet
Like people, pets should have their teeth brushed daily, since plaque is highly opportunistic and forms quickly. A daily scrubbing will remove most of the plaque before it can turn into rock-hard tartar, although toothbrushes cannot clean below the gumline. But, a regular toothbrushing routine will give your pet the best chance for continued dental health by removing as much bacteria as possible.
Start slowly to accustom your furry friend to such a weird object as a toothbrush, beginning by using your finger to introduce toothbrushing. Choose a tasty beef-, chicken-, or seafood-flavored, pet-friendly toothpaste, squeeze a dollop on your finger, and offer it to your pet to lick. Once she realizes the stuff isn’t so bad, you can wipe your finger along her teeth, ensuring that you spread a generous layer of tasty toothpaste as a reward. Next, follow the same steps, but replace your finger with a toothbrush. Soon, your pet will realize that the toothbrush brings delicious rewards, in the form of tasty toothpaste and a healthy, pain-free mouth.
#2: Check your pet’s mouth regularly for dental disease signs
If you do not realize your pet has a problem, you cannot get her the dental help she needs. You can easily evaluate your furry pal’s oral health during your toothbrushing sessions, or your favorite TV show commercials. Simply lift your pet’s lip, reach all the way to the back molars, and look for these dental-disease signs:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Yellow or brown tartar accumulation on her teeth
- Broken, cracked, missing, or loose teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Masses around the teeth or gums, or on the tongue
Occasionally, your pet may display behavioral changes when suffering from periodontal problems. You may notice:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Sensitivity when touched around the head
- Dropping food when eating
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Acting hungry, but not wanting to chew hard food
Since pets are amazing at hiding illness or pain, ensure that you take the time to personally check for dental-disease signs, instead of waiting to notice changes in your pet’s behavior.
#3: Choose the best dental-health products available for your pet
While many dental products slow plaque and tartar accumulation, not all live up to their claims. Do not waste money on trial-and-error, searching for dental products that live up to their claim. Choose products from the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) list of approved dental products, which are proven by data and research to meet preset oral health-care standards for pets. Before purchasing dental treats, chews, diets, oral rinses, wipes, or additives, check for the VOHC seal of approval.
#4: Schedule routine dental-wellness exams
No matter how hard you try, sometimes your pet simply will not let you look deep inside her mouth. If your furry friend is less than cooperative, call in professional help. Our skilled team has tips and tricks to search for periodontal problems in the most reluctant of pets, which allows us to spot issues that need addressing. Of course, we perform a full dental exam during your pet’s normal wellness visit, but twice-yearly dental exams help us stay on top of disease progression and treat problems at their earliest stage.
#5: Schedule a professional dental cleaning to deep clean your pet’s mouth
Despite your daily toothbrushing sessions, your pet still can trap oral bacteria under her gumline, leading to hidden periodontal problems. Nothing thoroughly cleans your pet’s mouth better than a professional dental cleaning. During a cleaning at our hospital, your furry pal is safely anesthetized, which allows us to clean below the gumline without worrying about your pet moving and injuring herself, or our team. Without anesthesia, we also can’t take dental X-rays, since pets will not stay still enough. Dental X-rays allow us to spot hidden problems that can be a source of pain and infection, and we can treat those problems while your pet is comfortably unaware under anesthesia.
Are you ready to enjoy minty fresh breath and a pearly white smile from your pet? Give us a call to schedule your furry friend’s dental cleaning.