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Posted on 02-21-2016
Periodontal disease is among the most commonly diagnosed ailments at the vet's office. Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures that you can take to keep your pet's teeth clean and their mouths healthy. The gold standard is brushing the teeth; nothing else equals the benefits of daily brushing to stave off periodontal disease in your pet. Brushing is best introduced when your pet is young, an age when they are still adaptable and have very little build-up on their teeth. However, your adult cat or dog may still permit you to brush their teeth and is worth the effort given the benefits, even though the tan/brown build-up on the teeth (tartar and calculus) can not be removed by brushing alone. Removal of the calculus required professional scaling and polishing, but brushing will slow the accumulation and will help to promote the health of the gums and tissues around the teeth. Introduce brushing slowly and gradually--over the course of a month--and try to make the experience as pleasant as possible by providing ample praise and treats as you would with any other form of training. Enzymatic toothpastes for pets are also available, in flavors such as beef, poultry and seafood, which will also help your pet to enjoy the experience.
For the first week, place a small amount of the flavored toothpaste on the brush, and allow your pet to lick the paste off the brush. Hopefully, by the end of the first week your pet will allow you to make contact with the front teeth and the brush. Slowly work your way towards the back of the mouth over the next few weeks with the goal of getting to the molars no sooner than the end of one month. You only need to brush the side of the teeth facing the lips and cheeks since pets accumulate very little on the tongue side of the teeth. Gently holding your pets mouth closed may help, especially if they have a tendency to want to chew on the brush. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for help if you are having difficulties or would like other recommendations for ensuring the health of your pet's teeth. Happy Brushing!!
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