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Periodontal (dental) disease is one of the most common conditions seen in veterinary practice; approximately 85% of dogs and cats under 3 years of age suffer from early signs of dental disease.

This can be prevented with thorough dental homecare alongside potential veterinary treatment. Veterinary intervention may include a dental scale and polish and, if necessary, tooth extractions. The aim of a dental scale and polish is to remove stubborn plaque which would otherwise be extremely nearly impossible to remove via tooth brushing alone.

The aim of dental homecare is to minimise the accumulation of plaque. Therefore, also reducing the risk of periodontal disease developing or progressing.

Ways to carry out dental homecare include the following 4 steps:

1. Daily tooth brushing

Pet toothpaste is available in a variety of flavours which helps to familiarise the pet with the tooth brushing process.

It is important to purchase suitable pet toothpaste as human toothpaste can cause fluoride toxicity.

Tips on brushing your pet’s teeth:

– Ensure that they are comfortable before commencing and introduce the process gradually.

– Start by brushing the molars and pre-molars. Brushing a few teeth each day will help your pet to become used to having their teeth brushed. Eventually, it may be possible to clean all of their teeth in one session.

– Brush the teeth in gentle circular motions and include the gingival margin (gum line) in addition to the tooth surface. Ideally, it is preferable to start brushing you pet’s teeth as early as possible. This allows your pet to become used to the tooth brushing process at a young age. This is particularly important with kittens or young cats as it can be particularly difficult to introduce adult cats to the process.

2. Feeding an appropriate diet

There are numerous pet diets available which are formulated to be tooth-friendly. Some diets have a structure that ensures that the food is chewed and that the tooth surface is mechanically cleaned. Other diets contain minerals to prevent plaque build-up.

3. Providing dental chews (as part of a balanced diet)

Some dental chews contain enzymes which prevent further plaque formulation with or without a physical cleansing effect.

4. Encouraging play with tooth-friendly toys

Some toys have a ‘window-wiper’ effect or have projections which clean the tooth surface. Some also dispense toothpaste as the animal plays with the toy.

Please contact us if you are concerned about your pet’s mouth health or for further information as to how we can work together to keep you pet’s teeth healthy.