Tips for cats and dogs to clean tartar off teeth and help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
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What is Tooth Decay?
While pets rarely get cavities as their diets are mostly free from cavity causing sugars, they are prone to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause a number of serious health concerns.
Decaying teeth can cause severe pain, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and dental problems later on in life, but it can also cause illness to other organs in the body resulting in conditions such as heart disease or kidney disease.
Diagnosing Tooth Decay
The number one clue of teeth decay is bad breath. Rotting food particles and saliva provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and the build up of plaque and calculus. When this occurs your pet becomes vulnerable to dental problems.
Regular home inspection of your pets mouth, a healthy diet which includes hard foods to scrape the teeth and annual dental check ups at the vet are essential in preventing tooth decay and the problems associated with it.
Remember that healthy teeth are white and shiny from the tip to the very edge of the gums and any yellow or brown build up on the teeth is a sign of plaque and calculus build up.
More Information on Tooth Decay
Tips for promoting healthy gums and teeth
- Brush those teeth! Tooth decay and gum disease can be avoided with the regular brushing of your pet’s teeth. Opt for a pet toothbrush and tooth paste and get them into the habit of teeth brushing early on. Your pet won’t like it at first, but should soon get used to the routine
- Provide your pet with a natural and high-quality diet that doesn’t contain sugar. Your pet should be eating some hard foods such as crunchy pet biscuits, raw bones or vegetables which can help scrape off plaque and massage the gums.
- Avoid feeding your pet human food. While we eat many foods that are bad for our teeth, we brush our teeth twice daily and unless your pet is getting the same treatment, human foods, especially sugary foods should be avoided!
- Dental chews are useful; however, watch the calories in these as they tend to be quite high!
- Keep your pet’s immune system strong to help avoid viruses and bacteria from causing problems in the mouth.
- Make regular dental checks a part of your pets annual veterinary check up.