Did you know that 85% of our pet dog population has some degree of dental disease?
Dental disease begins with a build-up of tartar on the teeth. If left untreated, tartar buildup leads to gingivitis, a painful inflammation of the gum line. Once the gum line is inflamed, tooth roots are susceptible to bacterial infection and abscess (painful collection of pus). Tooth root abscesses lead to destruction of the tooth root, causing tooth loss. The detrimental effects of dental disease do not stop at the mouth. Bacteria in the gum line are released into the blood stream and can cause damage to internal organs. If left untreated, dental disease will have serious negative long-term effects on your pet’s health and overall well-being.
The good news is you can take steps at home to maintain good dental health in your pet.
Daily tooth brushing is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. The simplest method is to use a finger brush (literally fits over the end of your finger) and a pet approved tooth paste. (Caution: do not use human toothpaste products as these contain fluoride, which is dangerous for pets.)
Five Steps for Tooth-Brushing Success:
- Have your dog sit facing you.
- Place the finger brush on your index finger.
- Apply a pea-sized amount of tooth paste to the brush.
- With the other hand, gently hold your pet’s muzzle from the side of the face.
- Insert the finger brush up under the upper lip and make tiny circles with the brush over the outer surface of the upper teeth.
Do not expect your pet’s complete compliance right away. Start by doing just a few seconds of brushing each day, then praise your pet and let him go. Make it a part of your daily routine. That way, your pet will become accustomed to the process and perhaps even begin to enjoy it.
As a last note, remember to take your pet in to see his veterinarian for regular wellness visits. Discuss your pet’s dental health and ask for advice. Remember, prevention is the key to a long life of good dental health!
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