Even your furry family members need their teeth brushed! Like us, pets can develop periodontal disease that can result in gum erosion and tooth loss, making it impossible to chew. It takes time to establish good oral health habits with your pet, but these five tips will make the process go a lot more smoothly.
1. Get the Right Supplies
A regular toothbrush and your favorite toothpaste won’t cut it for your pet—in fact, human toothpaste is toxic for them! There are toothbrushes made specifically for dogs and cats as well as finger brushes for a close and more controlled clean. Pet toothpastes come in flavors that are palatable for your pets, including chicken.
2. Take Things Slowly
Don’t rush into brushing your pet’s teeth if they haven’t had their mouth or gums touched extensively before. Slowly build up an oral health routine. You may want to spend a week just massaging your pet’s gums and touching their teeth, and over time slowly running a piece of wet gauze over their teeth with a dab of pet-friendly toothpaste. Then, introduce them to the toothbrush or finger brush.
3. Have Fun
Make sure to give lots of treats and praise during this entire process so that your pet can associate getting their teeth brushed with good things. Not doing so can make it difficult for your pet to settle down before getting their teeth brushed and even cause them to have a fearful response to the whole process.
4. Be Consistent
Brush your pet’s teeth at least three times a week if you can’t do so once a day. This is especially important if your pet eats wet food. If they eat kibble or a raw diet, it’s still necessary to brush their teeth.
5. Get a Professional Opinion
Your veterinarian should thoroughly examine your pet’s teeth and gums during their visits. Be sure to ask if your pet needs a professional dental cleaning for extra protection against tartar buildup and gum disease. If you brush your pet’s teeth consistently, you may be able to save yourself from having to spend extra money on a professional cleaning!
So what about your own oral health care? Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist twice a year is a great way to make sure that you’re maintaining proper oral health. If you’re ready to book you and your family member’s next dental cleaning, contact River Vista Dentistry today!