Making sure that your pets have healthy teeth and gums is an important part of ensuring that they’re in good health overall. Dental care for pets involves brushing their teeth and bringing them to the vet for regular exams. During these exams, the vet will check their teeth and gums for signs of dental problems and recommend a cleaning if needed. In addition to these checkups, you can also take steps at home to protect your pets’ oral health.
Importance of Dental Care for Pets
Pets have teeth and gums that are prone to decay, infections and other problems when they’re not cared for, just as humans do. When pets develop dental problems, this can lead to tooth loss, serious infections or other health issues. Tooth loss makes it hard for pets to eat their food, since chewing can be painful. Bacteria from tooth or gum infections can spread to other parts of the body, such as the heart or kidneys, which can become life-threatening without prompt treatment. Pets can also develop behavioral issues when they’re in pain from tooth or gum problems.
Dental Problems in Pets
Pets can end up having dental problems that range from mild to serious. These include tooth decay, broken teeth, gum disease, tooth infections, tooth abscesses, jaw alignment problems and tumors or cysts in the mouth. Tooth decay doesn’t occur as often in pets as it does in people, but gum disease is common in pets. While your vet will look for early signs of dental problems, keep in mind that you should also watch for signs of tooth or gum problems. These include persistent bad breath, loose teeth, broken teeth, excessive drooling, trouble eating and discolored teeth.
Dental Care Tips
Pets with plaque or tartar buildup can benefit from natural, anesthesia-free cleanings done by a veterinary dentist. Keep in mind that bringing your pets to the vet is just one part of maintaining good dental health, though. You can also help at home with regular brushing. This involves using a toothbrush made for pets and pet safe toothpaste. Don’t use toothpaste for people, since it can be harmful to pets. While you don’t necessarily need to brush your pets’ teeth every day, you should aim to do so at least a few times a week. This prevents plaque from building up on their teeth and gums in between cleanings, which lowers the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Giving raw bones to dogs is a natural way to protect their dental health. Chewing on these bones clears away food particles and helps stop plaque buildup.