We all know that teeth are important, but many of us do not think about our pet’s teeth. Just like us, pets benefit from routine oral health care for their overall health. The gold standard will always be brushing teeth as well as professional dental cleanings when needed.
There are excellent toothpastes of various flavours on the market as well as a variety of toothbrushes that help to make brushing teeth as enjoyable as possible. It is not as intimidating as it may sound, please stop by the clinic and ask us how!! We would be happy to show you simple ways to introduce the idea of toothbrushing into your routine and to make it as positive an experience as possible.
There are other products on the market to help our pets maintain a healthy mouth as well – water additives, sprays, and rinses. One of the easiest ways is by incorporating dental chews, treats, or kibble into your pet’s diet. My favourite is Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D, and this is what I use with my own cat.
It is a complete and balanced diet, but it can also be used as a treat! It’s low-calorie and I imagine very tasty, but the best part is that it carries the seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Society for decreasing plaque, tartar, and gingivitis. It does this through the use of a very special fibre matrix within the kibble and through kibble size. The kibbles themselves are larger, and this means that even the pet who usually “inhales” treats and food will need to chew it at least once or twice. The density of the fibre matrix allows the tooth to penetrate completely through the piece of kibble which then creates friction which scrapes the tooth and the gum.
Whereas most regular kibble shatters when pressure is applied, the T/D maintains its structure and breaks into slabs. This allows more contact with the teeth. Less plaque on the teeth means less of a scaffolding for the harder mineralized tartar to develop. Less tartar developing leads to less gingivitis, and therefore less recession of the gums and disease of the tooth root. All of this means happy a pet with a healthier mouth, and as we all know “Oral health = overall health”.
Written by Dr. Paige Marryatt, DVM