All pets are at risk of developing dental problems.
Plaque (a combination of bacteria, proteins, sugars, white blood cells, minerals and water) may form on teeth and lead to mouth odour, pain, infection and tooth loss.
Plaque causes periodontal disease (gum disease). Pockets of infection may form around the roots of the tooth and after mixing with food particles and minerals in saliva, some plaque will harden to form tartar. Early signs of periodontal disease include reddening or inflammation of the tooth-gum margin, called gingivitis.
Do not wait for signs of dental problems (mouth odour, yellow-brown crusty tartar, pain or bleeding gums) to surface before you start preventive dental care.
Use a pet toothbrush and toothpaste. Brush your pet's teeth daily. If your pet does not tolerate toothpaste, try an animal dental spray.
Treatment and Home Care
If your pet has dental problems, your veterinarian may recommend dental scaling and polishing. Following scaling/polishing, it is vital to maintain your pet’s teeth and gum health at home.
Physical brushing of the tooth is the most effective means of removing plaque. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for animals. Do not use human toothpastes as they froth, which may be a frightening experience for your pet.
Daily brushing should be started as early in your pet’s life as possible.
• Approach the animal from the side, not face to face.
• Gently lift up the lip at the front of one side to reveal the canines and incisors.
• Brush them slowly and gently for a few seconds then stop, let the pet lick the toothpaste then give lots of praise.
Repeat this routine at the same time every day until the animal accepts the procedure. Brush the front teeth of the other side as well. Include the premolars in the tooth brushing.
Feeding large pieces of raw vegetables, tough meat or chewy hide will help clean the teeth as well. A diet containing dry food may reduce the rate of accumulation of plaque. However, tooth brushing is still the most important and effective means of preventing periodontal disease.