Why Dental Matters

What if there was a magic potion that could increase your pet’s quality of life and life expectancy. Would you want it?

Well, here’s good news: that magic potion exists. And it isn’t magic. It’s actually very simple!

Caring for your pet’s dental health can, in fact, improve their health and prevent premature illness and death according to Dr. Rod Van Horn, a practicing veterinarian and member of American Veterinary Dental Society. He cautions his clients that taking steps to care for their dogs’ dental health is crucial. He also stresses that it goes far beyond making their teeth pretty and ending the dreaded doggy breath. In fact, poor dental health can lead to many other, serious health issues.

“From the moment pets start to eat solid food, they are developing what is called a slime layer on their teeth. This, in time, will develop into plaque and tartar. Left untreated, this material, composed of minerals and bacteria, will lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease in the mouth,” Dr. Van Horn explained.

But the bacteria don’t stop there. They can enter the blood stream through the inflamed gums and set up housekeeping on the heart valves leading to bacterial endocarditis.

That’s not all. “These same bacteria are filtered through the kidneys and liver, which can create problems as well. Dental disease can also cre- ate pain, as many of us can testify if we have ever had a toothache or sore gums,” Dr. Van Horn cautioned. “Ultimately, if your pet is not receiving proper dental hygiene and the mouth is unhealthy, the pet’s life is shortened.”

But, there is a lot pet parents can do to avoid that. According to Dr. Van Horn, studies have shown that keeping your pet’s oral cavity in good health can increase life expectancy on the average of 1 to 3 years! Routine oral care, along with keeping your pet’s mouth healthy, will not only decrease nasty dog breath issues and sore mouths, but will also help you ensure your furry friend can be around for additional years to come. Wet nose, big kisses and all.

Help Along the Way

Keeping Fido’s teeth their sparkly best is not always easy. Here are a few tips that can help, along with some of the most advanced products available for your pet dental care regimen.

Brushing is Key

Imagine going years and years without ever brushing your teeth. ICK! Your dog’s teeth need to be brushed, too. Veterinarians recommend once-a-day brushing for optimum health. If your schedule won’t allow for that (or your dog won’t, for that matter), just remember that the more often you brush, the better. Some is better than none.

It’s easiest to get puppies used to brushing, but even old dogs can learn new dental tricks. Whatever your pooch’s age, start by letting them taste pet toothpaste from your finger on several occasions, then put some on their pet toothbrush to get them used to the texture.

When your pet is ready to move on (some dogs take days, others take weeks) gently rub your fingers on their gums and lips to get them used to the sensation. Finally, use the brush.

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