dental (1)Plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth harbor harmful bacteria. These bacteria can infect gum tissue and the roots of teeth, resulting in disease and tooth loss. In addition to the impact on the oral cavity, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the large network of blood vessels located near the gums and teeth. Recent studies have documented that certain heart, liver and kidney diseases may be associated with these bacteria.

Depending on your pet’s “grade” of dental disease, your course of treatment may vary from at home preventative measures such as oral rinses or dental chews or brushings to professional dental cleanings as the severity of dental disease intensifies.

Grade 1
Plaque accumulates at the gumline and there may be slight redness’ and bad breath.

Grade 2
Calculus forms at the gumline, and there is redness and swelling.

Grade 3
Same as above + gum begins to separate from the tooth. The veterinarian will use a dental probe to determine the depth of the separation. Mouth ulcers may be forming. Pus and bleeding may be present.

Grade 4
There is major loss of attachment between the gum and tooth. The teeth may be loose. Pus and bleeding may be present. The mouth odor is extremely foul.

Our Registered Veterinary Technicians will be pleased to provide a complimentary dental evaluation of your pet’s teeth, determining their “grade” and making recommendations for care.

Home Dental Care

Equally important to annual dental exams is home dental care. Dental care at home comes in a variety of options ranging from dental chews coated in a tartar-attacking enzyme to water additives which cause the tooth enamel to become slippery whereby aiming to prevent future plague accumulation.

Another at home option includes weekly applications of OraVet which coats your pet’s teeth in a protective sealant. OraVet effectively reduces dental plaque and tartar formation by creating an invisible barrier that prevents bacteria from attaching to your pet’s teeth.

Both dogs and cats, young and old, should have their teeth brushed if their temperaments allow it. We recommend starting brushing your pet’s teeth at a young age to accustom them to the teeth-brushing process for years to come.

To introduce your pet to brushing, wrap a gauze or washcloth around your finger and use it like a toothbrush on the pet’s teeth. Wipe the outside of the teeth, with strokes from the gumline to the tip of the tooth. Do this for one to two weeks until your pet is familiar with having its gums and teeth rubbed. The entire teeth-brushing process should be quick, especially in the beginning.

Gradually progress to a soft toothbrush and plain water. After a week of using a soft toothbrush, add a small amount of special dog or cat toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste as it may irritate the pet’s stomach. Not to mention, pet toothpaste is available in palatable flavors such as liver or poultry!

Begin by brushing the front teeth and then the upper and lower teeth in the back. The bristles should be held at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface and be moved in an oval motion. Scrub in the crevice where the gums meet the teeth, as this is where odor and infection begin.

Remember you do not need to brush as thoroughly as you do your own teeth. The less stressful it is on both you and your pet, the more likely you will be able to continue your home dental care routine and potentially prevent the need for a professional cleaning. Our technicians would be happy to demonstrate proper tooth-brushing technique at your pet’s next visit- feel free to ask!

Professional Dental Cleaning
FAQs on Dental Health for Dogs and Cats