Pet owners are concerned about their Pet's "Bad Breath" when in fact a major disease is damaging their vital organs and silently killing the cells of these organs! Dental disease is the leading health issue in both dogs and cats over the age of three. Why? Because the pet owner has not been educated nor trained in how to properly manage their pet's oral hygiene. If you never brushed your own teeth, what would your health be like? Do you like to communicate with others who have not managed their own oral hygiene?  Many pets have lost a significant number of their adult teeth by the age of 8-10, developed kidney, heart and liver diseases because of the low grade systemic bacterial infection in the blood stream from dental neglect and managing the pet oral hygiene. Dental disease also challenges the immune system of pets to the point that their resistance is lowered and they are prone to more health issues.

The anatomy of the gums and teeth is such that there is a small natural trough created at the attachment of the gingival tissue and the tooth called the gingival sulcus. This trough is normally no more than 1 mm in depth. This is the most critical area when cleaning the plaque from the tooth surface. It is in this trough where many bacteria grow.

Training your pet to let you brush his teeth can be accomplished just as any other training program. You need to be patient, consistent and reward your pet after each session. The end result, lower incidence of dental disease, is health rewarding by adding years to your pet's life.

There are many items on the market that can also support the pet owner at home with dental care. We know that dry kibble will do a better job of helping keep teeth clean than wet food. It has more of an abrasive action when chewed. Now we have special dental diets that will not fracture when the tooth hits the kibble but act more like a sponge and the tooth penetrates the kibble for a mechanical scraping action. Biscuits also have an abrasive action to help clean teeth.

There are many helpful dental toys on the market that will also create abrasive action on the tooth surface to help clean teeth. There are some that even act like a flossing agent.

There are also products on the market that can be added to a pet's drinking water to help control halitosis and will aid the pet owner in managing his pet's oral hygiene. One such product is Oxyfresh® Pet Oral Hygiene Solution. Remember it is estimated that if a pet owner were to manage his pet's oral health from a young age then the pet would probably live 2-7 years longer and be a happier healthier pet. Why not start today an Oral Hygiene Program for your pet! Reward him for all the love he gives to you!

Source:  John F. Prange, DVM

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