Brushing pet's teeth

Brushing pet's teeth can prevent or delay plaque build up on teeth. Plaque build up is a problem in both cats and dogs and has usually become a factor in pet dental health by the time these pets are 2 years old.

Why does this happen? Well, they eat all sorts of stuff given to them by humans but then forget to brush their teeth! Even the best brushed human teeth eventually succumb to a build up of plaque so you can imagine how easily and fast it accumulates when the teeth aren't brushed at all!

Brushing pet's teeth is the simple answer to this problem! As in humans, brushing a pet's teeth will not totally prevent the build up of plaque, but it can be very efficient at delaying the build up. This has a positive spin off for the animal's immune system and thus also it's overall health.

In the long run it will also help your pocket by reducing visits to the vet for descaling and polishing and/or for treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Brushing pet's teeth is thus a true win-win situation!

Having their teeth brushed is not every pet's idea of fun. Cats in particular can get grumpy with you so it is best to try to start getting them used to the idea from as young as possible. Be firm but gentle and be consistent - don't do it regularly for 3 months and then forget about it for the next four months. The battle will be lost - on both the plaque front and the ease of handling front.

What to do?

Nowdays there are toothpastes and toothbrushes designed specifically for use in pets. They are better than the human variety simply because they take the practicalities into account. e.g. human toothpaste builds up quite a foam with brushing while the pet equivalent does not.

Whether you use state of the art pet products or a bit of cloth wrapped around your finger and baking soda, the basics are the same. Carefully lift the lip up so that you can get to the outer surface of the teeth and gently rub the teeth and gums with small circular movements. Don't worry about the inside of the teeth (i.e. the tongue side of the teeth) as the tongue does a fairly good job there.

Don't brush too hard as this can lead to the gums bleeding, especially if there is gingivitis or periodontal disease present.However, regular brushing should soon improve the health of the gum and the tendency to bleed will be reduced (providing you go gently!)

Brushing pet's teeth is a worthwhile undertaking for your pet and your pocket - so invest in both your pet's health and your bank balance - just do it!