What can you do at home to ensure the best Dental Health for your pet?
Today your pet has received a Dental Treatment and will be going home with clean, healthy teeth. The very real challenge is to keep their teeth healthy into the future and to reduce the number of Dental Treatments which are required. As soon as your pet leaves the clinic and starts eating, plaque and bacteria will start to accumulate on the teeth again. Plaques calcifies and becomes tartar which then leads to Periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Mechanical Methods of Homecare
Contrary to popular belief, many pets can be trained to ENJOY toothbrushing (ideally daily). It is essential to make sure that there is no oral pain or dental disease present before starting to brush your pets teeth.
The key is to make it FUN—we are all more inclined to do things that we enjoy. Toothbrushing can be linked to another regular daily activity, for instance before going for a walk.
It is important to take it slowly—start with your fingers, then use gauze or pantyhose over your fingers, then progress to a brush.
While raw bones have traditionally been considered the best mechanical method for cleaning teeth, you need to be aware of the risks:
a. Broken teeth
b. Mouth injuries
d. Intestinal Blockage
The dangers associated with feeding pets bones has led to the development of textural diets and treats which are designed to control plaque without the risks associated with feeding raw bones.
We recommend Hills Feline Dental Diet and Hills Canine Dental Diet—you will have received a sample in your discharge pack today. Canine Greenies are also an excellent dental chew to help with mechanical cleaning.
Chemical Methods of Homecare
In addition to mechanically cleaning the teeth, some foods and treats will also work mechanically to decrease calculus formation. They are generally coated with polyphosphates which bind salivary calcium. Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar) as it is mineralized by calcium in the saliva—reducing the availability of calcium will reduce the formation of tartar.
In the same way that reducing calcium will reduce tartar formation, bacteria is also involved in the development of periodontal disease and reducing bacteria will create a healthy mouth.
The gold standard for oral disinfection is chlorhexidine gluconate. Healthy Mouth has recently been released in Australia, which is a water additive for dogs and cats. It has a VOHC seal for both plaque and tartar. Hexarinse is also a chlorhexidine product available in Australia.
In summary—no one product or technique will prevent plaque altogether. We are trying to stretch out the time between "dentals" and limit long term damage to teeth. It is best to base your homecare program around MECHANICAL plaque control and supplement with CHEMICAL plaque and tartar control. The most important is to follow up with regular dental examinations and professional treatment as required.
Our goal is to prevent plaque accumulation