Importance of dental health
Our companion animals, like us humans, need to receive regular dental care. This is not only to prevent disease but to ensure their teeth remain healthy and functional as long as possible.
The most common disease affecting animals is dental disease. 70% of cats and 82% of dogs will have some degree of it by the age of three.
It would be best if you took good care of your pet’s teeth, but you also need to have them regularly checked by a vet to ensure their dental health.
Why you should take good care of the teeth of your pets
If left untreated, dental disease can be painful for your pet. It can also lead to tooth and gum infections, inflammation, and even bone and tooth loss.
Dental conditions in cats and dogs are similar to those that affect humans. These include dental plaque, dental tartar, or calculus, which is a hardened layer of minerals bonded onto the enamel of the teeth that, if not removed, will require professional cleaning.
Just like with humans, it is important to provide preventative dental care for your companion animal. This will help you avoid problems developing in the future, causing them to worsen, or affecting other areas of your body.
What can I do at home?
You can take several steps at home to ensure that your pet’s gums and teeth are healthy.
It may surprise you, but the most effective thing that you can do is to brush their teeth. Brush their teeth. It may be a bit intimidating, but animals get used to having their teeth brushed.
Use a microfibre towel (only for this purpose, cleaned and replaced when necessary) to rub the toothpaste over each tooth gently. Do not use human toothpaste on your pet, as it can cause stomach problems.
In general, the younger the pet, when you begin training him to brush his teeth, the easier the process will be. Introduce tooth brushing slowly, especially if your pet is older. Your veterinarian will be able to give you advice on your pet.
You can also use dental toys and chews to help control plaque and tartar. Your veterinarian will be able to give you the best advice. Your vet may also recommend a Chlorhexidine gel or mouthwash. These products are used to reduce the amount of bacteria that can cause dental disease.
Regular veterinary treatment
It would be best if you also visited your veterinarian for a checkup every year. This will include a thorough dental examination.
Your vet will be able to evaluate the health of your pet’s teeth and gums and give you advice about any issues that need to be addressed at home.
Your vet may suggest that your pet undergo general anesthesia for a complete dental examination, cleaning their teeth, taking x-rays of the teeth if necessary, and treating any problems (such as damaged teeth).
You can ask your vet about dental care or visit the RSPCA Knowledgebase if you have questions. You and your veterinarian can help keep your pet’s gums and teeth in good shape with the right attention and care.