Good oral and dental care are very important to your pet’s overall health. A regular regimen of care for the teeth and gums can reduce the risk of health problems and dramatically extend the life of your pet.
At Bay Ridge Animal Hospital, we work to prevent dental disease with routine dental exams and dental cleanings. During your cat’s regular wellness exam, your veterinarian will examine the teeth and gums for signs of dental diseases, including:
- Bad breath
- Yellow or brown teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Mouth pain or bleeding
- Tartar and calculus build up
- Fractured teeth
- Damage to enamel
- Tumors or excessive gingival tissue
- Correct bite
Based on your pet’s exam, your veterinarian may recommend more extensive at-home care, such as tooth brushing or dental diets and treats, or follow-up care in the form of a professional dental cleaning.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Bay Ridge Animal Hospital recommends regular dental cleanings to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. These cleanings help your veterinarian assess your dog’s overall oral health and prevent tartar buildup, gum disease, and infection. The frequency of cleanings depends on your individual pet’s breed and oral health. Dental cleanings are always performed under general anesthesia to allow your veterinarian to clean under the gumline, where most harmful plaque and tartar hides.
Taking Care of Your Pet’s Teeth at Home
Home dental care is one of the best ways to promote healthy teeth and gums. It’s best to start brushing your furry friend’s teeth as early as possible to establish a strong foundation of oral health, but it’s never too late to start! Use a specially designed pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. Never use human toothpaste; it can be harmful to your dog if swallowed. Ideally, pet’s teeth should be brushed every day, but even brushing a few times a week is worth it!
Some pets may be resistant to brushing at first, but there are a few tricks you can use to make the process more comfortable for you and your dog. First, give your dog a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste. When brushing, use gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums. After, reward your dog with playtime, affection, or a healthy treat to positively reinforce the brushing process.
There are also a variety of dental diets, rinses, treats, and chew toys that can enhance your home dental care.These products work by breaking down plaque on the teeth before it can harden into tartar. Ask your veterinarian to help you choose the best products for your pet.