How Often Should You Brush Your Pet's Teeth?
June 25, 2019
Dental plague builds up on your pet's teeth all the time and the best way to remove it is to brush your dog or cat's teeth. Although some experts suggest it is prudent to brush your pet's teeth daily, a minimum of three times per week is acceptable as long as the pet does not have an acute or chronic dental disease. It is estimated that as many as 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by 3 years of age. Nonetheless, a professional dental cleaning is recommended once a year to remove plague and tartar as well as assess the overall health of your pet's mouth.
Since bacteria under the gum can travel to your pet's heart, kidneys or liver, regular at-home dental care and thorough professional dental cleanings can help to improve your pet's dental health. Left unchecked, dental disease can result in bad breath, pain when chewing, and/or the loss of teeth. Once bacteria work their way under your pet's gums, minerals in the dog or cat's saliva will bond with the plague to form tartar. Tartar is a hard substance that adheres to teeth causing inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis.
Although it is never too late to start brushing your pet's teeth, it is something your pet will need to get used to doing. At first, you can simply apply specially formulated pet toothpaste* using your finger to massage inside your pet's mouth. Once you dog or cat has adult teeth, aim for a minimum of three days per week toothbrush time and schedule a dental exam twice a year for check-ups. As you move the brush along each side, some light bleeding of the gums may occur, which is fine. However, heavy bleeding can indicate that you are brushing too aggressively or it may be a tale-tell sign of gum disease.
*NOTE: Never use human toothpaste when cleaning your pet's teeth. Human versions can contain ingredients that may irritate your pet's stomach.