Brushing your pet’s teeth may seem like the impossible dream at first, but it is the most important thing you can do for you pet’s oral health. After all they have the same dental problems that we have and many of these can be prevented by routine brushing.
Dental disease is not only a problem in the mouth, it affects the health of the entire body. Bacteria from oral disease travel in the bloodstream to the heart, liver, and kidneys and cause disease there as well.
When first starting your brushing routine, begin with the toothpaste by itself. Use a pet toothpaste, not a human tooth paste. A pet will swallow anything you put in its mouth and human toothpaste contains detergents that can upset the stomach if swallowed. Pet toothpaste is flavored with a taste that your pet will like. This is half the battle.
When you begin, leave the brush alone for a while. Place a glob of toothpaste on your finger and gently rub it all around the pet’s mouth. Do this every day. This will slowly accustom your pet to having its mouth handled and get them used to the idea. Be gentle and go slowly. Don’t scare them and don’t hurt them. They like the taste and will look forward to this daily event.
After a few days or weeks, try the brush. Use a brush with soft bristles that will slide underneath the gingival margin. This is where the nasty plaque lives that causes periodontal disease. Keep the mouth closed, otherwise you will have a battle on your hands. Slide the brush in between the lips and the teeth, holding the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gumline and make circular motions all the way back. Do the same with the lower jaw.
The lower jaw presents a special challenge in the molar region. Here the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth and the mouth will need to be opened slightly to access this area. Some people will place a small chew toy in the front of the mouth to hold it open during this part of the procedure.
That’s all there is to it! Studies have shown that brushing must be done at least every other day to be effective and every day is even better. It only takes a couple of minutes a day and is well worth the effort. It’s all in the training. Once that part is accomplished, it is smooth sailing. Good luck!
For a video demonstration, go to: http://www.nevadaveterinarydentistry.com/video_pgs/brushing_vid.htm