“What can I do about my pet’s bad breath,” is probably one of the most common questions I get in the clinic. Dental disease often goes untreated in most pets, and by the time it is addressed they’ve already lost a good number of teeth or there is significant damage under the gumline.
However, if I were to switch the situation around a bit, as humans, what would happen if we fail to take care of our dental hygiene for a few days? A few months? A few YEARS? I think you kind of get the picture… Here’s how you can start addressing that sneaky odor:
Treating Dental Disease
“Once old food bits, tartar, and bacteria have hardened to the teeth and under the gumline, it requires a professional scaling and polish to remove it.
First and foremost, we need to get right of what’s already lurking in the mouth. Once old food bits, tartar, and bacteria have hardened to the teeth and under the gumline, it requires a professional scaling and polish to remove it. It’s like what happens when us humans go to the dentist, except the procedure is done under general anesthesia in pets. Human dentists recommend a routine cleaning every 6-21 months. Same for pets, especially since they use their mouths for EVERYTHING.
Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums
Second, after the cleaning, would be general maintenance at home. Plaque starts building on the teeth within 24-48 hours after a cleaning. The American Veterinary Dentistry College recommends daily brushing as the gold standard of care at home. But for those who have difficulty with brushing, there are some alternatives, such as treats or toys, that can do a fairly good job of keeping the tartar at bay. The Veterinary Oral Health Council has a list of recommended products on their website.
Below, is a video from the American Veterinary Medical Association with an example of how to brush your pet’s teeth at home and maintain good oral hygiene for your pet.