Top 5 things your vet wants you to know about your pets teeth

  1. White teeth do not mean cleaning teeth
  2. Train your pet for dental care early
  3. Your pet is not too long for a cleaning
  4. Non-anesthetized cleanings do not work
  5. Just because you give dental chews doesn’t mean they should skip a cleaning

1. White teeth do not mean cleaning teeth

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to teeth is that lack of visible tartar means the teeth are healthy and disease free. Most of the bad breath and disease comes from the buildup of bacteria under the gumline. This can lead to infections that can damage the roots of the teeth and cause severe disease and pain to your pet.

2. Train your pet for dental care early

This is an item I discuss with all new pup parents. The more your pet is use to their mouth being positively manipulated, the better they and we will be overall. This training and practice helps pets and pet parents reduce stress when trying to have their teeth brush and mouth examined.

I recommend starting as young as possible and training as often as possible. Always practice positive reinforcement, having them lick something tasty from your hand or rub their gums with delicious peanut butter. Slowly work with them and their comfort level. 

3. Your pet is not too old for a cleaning

One of the most common complaints veterinarians will hear is about in middle age to senior pets is about bad breath and ways to help. Unfortunately, most of these cases have already passed the point of a dental chew here or brushing there to help and will need a proper dental cleaning.

While age is not a disease, it does bring about changes. Because of this, their dental health should be taken seriously and addressed promptly, avoiding waiting until it is too late. This includes routine checkups, brushings, and proper cleanings. Each pet should have a thorough physical exam and comprehensive blood sampling to ensure they are good candidates for anesthesia.

4. Non-anesthetized cleanings do not work

We understand anesthesia can be scary and stressful for loving pet parents. However, reaching for other forms of dental care, like non-anesthetized cleanings, could actually cause far more harm than good to your beloved pup.

Non-anesthetized cleanings are merely cosmetic in nature. They remove tartar from the visible surface of the teeth, but ignore the far more important gumline. They can even trap tartar and bacteria in a pet’s gums, leading to serious dental disease. Additionally, there is major concern regarding how your pet is handled during these cleanings and their safety. Because of this, these types of practices are not recommended and should be avoided at all costs.


5. Just because you give dental chews doesn’t mean they should skip a cleaning

While some dental chews and treats are great, they are not meant to be replacements for routine dental care and cleanings. These items are meant to work in combination with routine cleanings and used as alternatives to traditional brushing if not allowed by pets. Kept your pets overall health in check and have their teeth reviewed yearly!

Talk to your vet today to learn how you can keep up with your pup's dental health!

Dr. Nicky

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