Tips for At-Home Dental Care
Plaque is a sticky, film-like substance that is constantly forming on teeth. Plaque left on the teeth combines with minerals in the saliva to calcify and form a rough, hard deposit called tartar or calculus. Plaque and tartar can develop both above and below the gumline. As tartar builds, plaque bacteria cling to it, providing a ripe breeding ground for bacteria. Bacterial infection below the gumline can lead to gingivitis (infection of the gums), periodontal disease (degeneration of the tissue that attaches the tooth to the socket), and tooth decay.
The best method for controlling plaque is regular brushing. There are other products and techniques to help prevent dental disease if your pet does not allow toothbrushing.
Brushing and Dental Wipes: Brush your pet's teeth daily with an enzymatic pet toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste). We recommend C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste, which comes in delightful meaty flavors, and a soft brush or finger brush. Tooth brushing tips for success:
-Choose a convenient time of the day that will become part of you and your pet's normal routine
-Start by offering a taste of toothpaste and running your fingers along the gum line for a few days. Then slowly introduce the toothbrush
-Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum line
-It should take about 60 seconds or less to brush your pet's entire mouth
Dental wipes are a very convenient alternative to brushing. Although not quite as effective, wipes can be used to remove the majority of plaque that forms daily. We carry DentAcetic Wipes.
Diet: A proper diet is the first place to start for healthy teeth and can greatly reduce your pet's need for dental cleaning! Prescription diets such as Hill's t/d are clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain, and tartar buildup while providing balanced nutrition for all life stages. Avoid feeding soft, sticky foods and never give items containing sugar as treats. Canned food causes more plaque build up so it should not constitute more than 25% of your pet's diet.
Chews: Dental chews are beneficial to stimulate natural tooth cleaning by mechanically removing plaque. We use DuoClenz Enzyme Coated Rawhide Chews for dogs. These rawhides are flat; we advise against knotted rawhide chews as the knots are a choking hazard. Greenies for dogs and cats are also great to remove plaque, but your pet must chew them thoroughly.
Coating: OraVet is highly recommended protective coating that can be applied to the teeth following a dental to keep plaque from forming. It has been clinically proven to reduce plaque formation by 50%. We recommend daily application after eating. Additive for drinking water, such as C.E.T. Aquadent, is another product that can be used daily to reduce plaque buildup. Both of these products can also help freshen breath!
Even with daily care, plaque may still form which necessitates periodic professional cleaning. Just like you and I, annual dental cleanings keep our smile white and bright! Some of the signs of unhealthy teeth and gums are bad breath, difficulty eating and chewing (or not wanting to eat at all), and red gums. If any of these signs occur, please let us know and we can schedule a dental cleaning for your pet.
We appreciate your commitment to your pet's dental health!