Brushing your pet's teeth
If you never brushed your teeth, how would your breath smell? How would you feel? Research in human medicine has shown that poor dental hygiene is a risk factor for heart attack.
Teeth Brushing for pets can help avoid periodontal disease and other health problems!
Veterinary medical research has also shown that periodontal disease can spread to the heart, kidney and liver causing many problems. You can prevent disease simply by brushing your pets' teeth.
Teeth brushing for pets can save you money!
Teeth brushing & home dental care WILL reduce the frequency required for professional teeth cleaning and related services.
How often should you brush your pets' teeth?
Teeth brushing for pets, like many other important activities, must be performed routinely. This repetition creates a very beneficial habit. Daily is best because it physically removes plaque bacteria that causes periodontal disease. After three days, dental plaque hardens to form calculus or tartar. You cannot brush calculus away and plaque bacteria hide under the calculus resulting in periodontal disease.
Cats have some unique syndromes in addition to the same dental concerns we have for dogs.
More than half of cats over 3 years will have some degree of actual tooth resorption. Many cats are also afflicted with inflammation which can interfere with both eating and swallowing. Oral exams become especially important for our feline patients.
Teeth brushing technique for cats and dogs:
Teeth brushing is worth the effort!
This incisor area is gently brushed
using up and down as well as
elliptical stroke motion.
For the canine and premolar teeth the
brush is angled at a 45 degree angle
to the gumline. This gets bristles into
the gingival sulcus where the disease
causing plaque bacteria thrive.
Demonstration of a "finger brush"
being used for the upper molar and
The finger brush is being used for the
upper canine tooth. Notice the brush
is mounted on the finger.
A circular or elliptical brush stroke pattern is used.
Remember to be very gentle in brushing the periodontal tissues.
A similar brushing technique can be used with a child's soft bristle tooth brush.
Elliptical or small circular brushing strokes in the canine and premolar
Gently work the bristles under the gumline.
Same elliptical-circular strokes on
Remember 45 degree angle to the gumline.
Why don't we brush the inside (tongue side) of the teeth?
Teeth brushing can be challenging or fun for both pets and their owners. Efforts to brush the inside of the teeth will increase the challenge & decrease the fun! Luckily, tongue motions (while brushing) seem to be effective at reducing the plaque accumulations on the insides of the teeth.
What tooth brush is best to use for your pet?
The best tooth brush is the one you will use every day. The brush must be appropriately sized for the pet and the owner. We have several options for toothbrush size & can help you choose the best option for you and your pet.
Final advice for teeth brushing of your pets.
1. Think about the reason you are brushing your pet's teeth.
To remove plaque bacteria that causes periodontal disease, a health threat.
2. Have a positive attitude - approach it as a 'Gum Massage' - after all, we all like to be pampered!
3. Keep reasonable expectations.
Enjoy your pet and brush their teeth to interact with them. Treats can be rewards.
It takes time and patience to create a habit. Don't try to do the entire mouth right away, or even every time. Enjoy the time with your pet.
Be persistent, always gentle, kind and loving - remember to think of it as a gum massage!
4. Start slow, be gentle, play a lot.
Brush for 5-10 seconds in the 4 dental arches upper and lower left, then right side.
5. Expand the brushing to 30 seconds in each of the 4 dental arcades.
6. Don't miss a day for six weeks and a habit is formed.