By Brenna Fender
Dental care is an important part of pet ownership. Bad breath and stained or loose teeth can have consequences that are far beyond cosmetic.
Plaque is a sticky substance that forms on teeth. As it hardens, it becomes tarter, and it can spread below the gum line. When this occurs, infection can set in. Infections in the mouth can spread to other organs, like the heart, and can potentially become life threatening.
At home, preventative dental care options are available. Specially made toothbrushes and toothpastes are available for dogs and cats (human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and is therefore not suitable for pets). There are dental diets and chews designed to help remove tarter and dental washes that can be added to your pet’s water bowls to reduce buildup on teeth. Talk to your veterinarian about the dental care products that are best suited for your pets.
In addition to at-home preventatives, your pets should receive veterinary dental care. Make sure that your pet’s veterinarian checks out those pearly whites regularly and schedule professional dental cleanings as needed. Although cleanings are an added expense, they are far cheaper than dealing with periodontal disease or severely damaged teeth.
For more information, visit https://www.avma.org/News/PressRoom/Pages/Pet-Dental-Health-Month-release.aspx.