Your pet’s teeth and gums are part of their digestive system, and a healthy mouth supports a healthy digestive system. Strong teeth catch and chew food into smaller, swallowable pieces, and a healthy mouth creates saliva to protect your pet’s esophagus when swallowing. Therefore, it follows that when a dog or cat’s mouth and teeth are not healthy, other problems may occur. That’s why keeping your pet’s oral health in tip-top shape is very important.
The best way to keep your pet’s mouth clean is with regular visits to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s dental health when you visit them twice a year for checkups, and let you know when it’s time for a cleaning. Make sure to let your vet know any oral health conditions you may have noticed in your pet like bleeding gums, bad breath or problems chewing and eating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or express any concerns you may have during your visit.
If you have a new puppy or kitten, get them used to veterinarian visits right away, and also get them in the routine of home teeth brushing immediately following your first visit. This will make the process much easier and more pleasant for you both!
Your veterinarian can help you establish a cleaning routine for your pet and recommend products that will help keep your pet’s mouth clean and healthy. There are several cleaning solutions and even toothpaste available that can help you clean their teeth.
Speaking of toothpaste, please note that it is not safe or recommended to use human toothpaste and dental care products on your pets. Many human dental products contain ingredients that may be harmful to cats and dogs like Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener safe for people but not for pets. Remember to only use pet toothpastes and solutions recommended by your veterinarian.
And don’t forget the fun stuff! There are many products available today specifically for cat or dog dental health such as chews, toys and treats. Providing your pet with these items will not only make them happy and give them activities, but will stimulate their gums and teeth to contribute to an overall healthy mouth.