By Dr. William Rosenblad, Angell Dentistry Service
Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our canine companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. Fortunately, we can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet, appropriate chew treats and toys and daily tooth brushing. The following are steps to guide you on how to brush your dog’s teeth:
The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning.
You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems. Furthermore, veterinary toothpastes have flavors that are appealing to dogs. Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line, which is the most important area to brush.
There are several important facts about our pets’ mouths that tell us when, where and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.
Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.
BRUSHING YOUR DOG’S TEETH
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Angell Dentistry Service is experienced at treating periodontal disease, fractured teeth, malocclusions, jaw fractures, oral tumors, feline resorptive lesions and stomatitis. In addition, the dentistry staff frequently works with the other specialists at Angell to prepare and manage patients with special anesthesia needs. For more information, please visit www.angell.org/dentistry. To schedule an appointment, please call 617-524-5643.