Canine periodontal disease can affect a dog’s internal organs, so it's vital to take care of your dog’s teeth. It's never too late to begin your dog’s oral hygiene program. Brushing your dog’s teeth at least three times per week, feeding him healthy foods and treats, and offering him the right chew toys will help fight plaque and keep his teeth and gums healthy. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Plaque is a bacteria that creates a film on teeth. Plaque regenerates when your dog eats, creating stickiness and acid as it combines with the sugars in his food. Left untreated, plaque spreads below the gum line, destroys tooth enamel and creates dental caries. As plaque progresses, it mixes with salivary minerals and becomes tartar. When untreated, tartar will lead to periodontal disease, which leads to tooth loss and other health problems.
In order to fight plaque, it is important to use the right products. Always use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) recommends chlorhexidine as the best anti-plaque antiseptic. It is available in rinse and gel form. The Veterinary Oral Health Council website reviews canine dental health products and awards its VOHC Seal to plaque-fighting products that meet its standards. These top-rated products include foods, treats and oral health items such as toothbrushes, sprays and gels.
To fight plaque, use top-rated plaque products regularly and properly. Daily brushing is the most important step. This is the best way to fight plaque on your dog’s teeth. Incorporate a chlorhexidine antiseptic into this hygiene program, following label instructions. Feed your dog a healthy diet and enhance his dental program with proper treats and inedible, safe chew toys. Look for the VOHC Seal of Acceptance to ensure that you're giving your dog top-rated plaque products.
Professional dentistry should be part of your dog’s dental hygiene plan. Include your veterinarian in your dog’s oral care. Your vet can perform a dental exam when you bring your dog in for checkups and vaccinations. Dental cleanings, performed under anesthesia, remove plaque and tartar from all surfaces and allow comprehensive examination of the teeth and gums.
- PetMD: Importance of Periodontal Health in Maintaining Your Pet’s Healthy Heart
- Greater St. Louis Dental Hygienists’ Association: What is Plaque and Tartar
- American Veterinary Dental College: Home Care for Dogs
- Veterinary Oral Health Council: Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal
- Dog and Cat Dentist: FAQ
- American Veterinary Dental College: Dental Cleaning for your Pet
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