Dental disease is the most common medical condition seen by our veterinarians. Over 80% of animals 3 years or older have significant dental disease which if left untreated can progress to a wide variety of illnesses elsewhere in the body. Luckily for you there are a few basic measures that can be taken to help keep your pets teeth pearly white and free of disease.
1. Teeth Brushing
Brushing teeth physically removes the bacteria and minerals from the surface of teeth before it is able to form the calculus that leads to dental disease. It is the most effective way of preventing dental disease in our furry friends and in most cases is well tolerated. It is important to begin brushing teeth gently and in a manner that is accepted by your pet. Once they are accepting of the technique then we are able to build up to a daily routine and in most cases our pets can actually learn to enjoy the teeth brushing ritual.
2. Dental Chews
There are a wide variety of dental chews and chew toys on the market. Encouraging chewing is a great way to assist in preventing dental disease as chewing will help dislodge some of the softer tartar and calculus from the teeth before it becomes a problem. Some of our favourites chews include Greenies and pigs ears.
3. Dental Diets
Specific dental diets are available that slow down the production of plaque and calculus in the mouth and physically abrade and clean the teeth as you pet chews. We currently have free samples of these dental diets (Hills t/d) available for cats and dogs so feel free to contact us if you wish to give it a try.
4. Water additives
There are now products available that can be added to our pets drinking water in order to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. I think of these products as a “mouth wash” for dogs and cats. Plaque and calculus is simply an accumulation of bacteria and minerals that sticks to the teeth; so by using a “mouth wash” we can decrease the bacteria load before it is able form plaque and calculus and cause damage to the teeth.
5. Regular Dental Procedures
Even with preventative dental care such as teeth brushing, dental diets, dental chews and mouth wash, it will still be necessary to undergo regular dental checks and regular scale and polish procedures on your pets teeth. How often a scale and polish is required will depend on a number of factors including genetics and the amount of preventive treatment undertaken. As a rule of thumb we recommend that animals over the age of 3 years old have a dental examination every 6 months and a scale and polish every 1-2 years.
If you are unsure whether your pet is in need of any dental treatment or you have questions regarding any of the preventative dental care options then please feel free to contact us so that one of our staff can guide you in the right direction.