Dental care is more than just cleaning teeth

By Beatriz M. Segarra, DVM The Village Animal Hospital, Johns Creek, GA

The health of our pet’s teeth is just as important as keeping our own teeth healthy.

Tartar buildup and periodontal disease can lead to heart disease, liver disease and other potentially life-threatening conditions — all of which can be avoided with good and regular dental hygiene. Daily brushing is the gold standard preventive care recommended for our pets.

For dogs and cats, brushing their teeth daily is beneficial, and can start when they are young. Puppies and kittens can be trained to accept brushing. Start with a finger tooth brush, which makes the move to a bristle brush easier.

Positive reinforcement is helpful, so give your pet a healthy treat before brushing teeth. A fluoride-free, pet-safe tooth paste can be purchased from your veterinarian. We recommend C.E.T (clean every tooth) toothpaste, which comes in different flavors, including poultry, beef, peppermint and malt.

Daily teeth brushing is good preventive care, but so are yearly dental cleanings. Some breeds are more prone to developing tartar buildup and periodontal disease than others. Having annual examinations allows your veterinarian to assess your pet’s dental health.

Pet dental cleanings are performed using the same dental equipment as used for humans. The main difference is pets’ dentals are performed under anesthesia.

Having the patient under anesthesia allows us to carefully assess each tooth and perform a thorough dental cleaning.

Additional steps to help prevent tartar buildup include feeding dry food and offering tartar control treats.

For more information regarding your pet’s dental needs and care, contact your veterinarian.  ■


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