National Pet Dental Health Month has passed, but it's essential to maintain a year-round focus on oral care, writes Petplan co-founder and executive Natasha Ashton. Cleaning pets' teeth regularly at home is the best way to prevent serious dental and systemic health problems as well as avoid potentially expensive procedures later, Ashton writes. The American Animal Hospital Association says two-thirds of owners don't provide recommended dental care to pets and only 1% regularly brush their pets' teeth.
A pet's teeth cleaning should only be done by a licensed veterinarian in conjunction with veterinary technicians since veterinarians undergo several years of training to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine, including providing cleanings, writes veterinarian Abbie Whitehead. Owners should also brush their pets' teeth at home, and the AVMA offers a video demonstrating proper techniques.
By age 2, some 80% of dogs have dental disease, the No. 1 pet health problem identified by veterinarians, according to AVMA President Dr. Rene Carlson. Regular tooth- brushing helps prevent pet periodontal disease and provides owners with an opportunity to look for the signs of poor oral health described by the AVMA, such as bad breath, pawing at the mouth, swollen gums or discolored teeth and difficulty eating hard items.
In an effort to highlight the connection between a pet's overall health and dental care, the AVMA has named February Pet Dental Health Month. Annual veterinary exams and tooth brushing at home are the best ways to protect a pet's oral health.
February is Pet Dental Health Month and the AVMA promotes dental health for pets. The association's website provides pet teeth-brushing tips for owners. This article lists some ways owners can care for their pet's teeth.