If you own a pet, you’ve probably heard by now that you should brush your pet’s teeth. Whether or not you’re actually doing it — well, that’s another story. Even pet parents with the best intentions slack on this important duty. Maybe you simply forget, or maybe you think you can get away with brushing just once a week — or eek — once a month. The truth is that you should brush your pet’s teeth daily. And if you understand the reasons why, chances are you’ll stick to that schedule.
So why should you brush your pet’s teeth?
1. To Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a very common and very serious problem in pets. Periodontal disease not only causes pain, abscesses, tooth loss, and infection, it can also impact the brain, heart, liver, kidney, lungs, skin, and joints. It’s an irreversible condition, so prevention is key.
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2. To Prevent Bad Breath
Some people think that bad breath — also known as halitosis — is normal in pets, but it’s not. If your pet has bad breath, something more serious is probably going on. While bad breath can result from a wide range of diseases, it is most commonly caused by a periodontal condition. Plaque mixes with saliva and bacteria to create one foul furry mouth. Brushing your pet’s teeth prevents the buildup of plaque, and thus bad breath. However, if brushing doesn’t seem to be keeping your pet’s bad breath at bay, contact your veterinarian.
3. To Prevent Pain
Periodontal problems can be incredibly painful for a pet, whether we’re talking about gum disease, gingivitis, abscesses, or broken teeth. And most pets don’t show it when they’re feeling dental pain; they just go on living with it. Pretty sad, right? To prevent your pal from feeling discomfort, keep up with regular brushing.
4. To Check For Problems
Brushing your pet’s teeth is a great opportunity to check for problems such as fractured or broken teeth, retained baby teeth, abnormally positioned teeth, and abnormal bite. These issues can all cause problems for a pet, so you should contact your veterinarian if you ever notice anything unusual while examining their mouth.
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5. To Keep Their Teeth Looking Their Best
Most pets will exhibit some mild tooth discoloration as they age, but it’s possible to avoid heavily stained yellow, brown, or green (yes, green!) teeth with regularly brushings. Heavy staining is caused by bacteria found in plaque, and brushing helps to remove it.
Do you brush your pet’s teeth? Leave a comment and tell us your technique. And to keep your pet healthy, sign up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.