How to brush your pet’s teeth

Here’s part two of our series on good dental health for your pet. Last week we dicussed the benefits of good dental care. Before we move onto today’s topic — how to brush your pet’s teeth — please take a minute and enter our Show us Your Smile conest. The winner gets a free professional cleaning at our clinic. Second- and third-place winners get a three-month supply of Hill’s Healthy Advantage dog or cat food courtesey of Hills Pet Nutrition. Full contest details are available on our Facebook page. One of the best ways to maintain good dental health is to brush your pet’s teeth. Start by softening the bristles of an ordinary soft toothbrush with warm water and applying pet toothpaste to the brush. Pet toothpastes, which are flavored to appeal to pets, contain enzymes that are specific to the chemistry of the dog and cat mouth. Human toothpastes are not recommended because they are ineffective, foam too much and cause stomach upset when pets swallow them. Gently brush the cheek surfaces of the incisors, the front-most teeth. Over the next few sessions, extend the toothbrush further back in the mouth, so that eventually all teeth are brushed. The pet’s tongue removes much of the plaque from the inside surfaces of the teeth, so brushing should focus on the cheek surfaces of the teeth, where most of the plaque forms. You don’t need to rinse your pet’s mouth, because pet toothpaste is safe if swallowed. Tooth brushing is most effective if done daily, but every-other-day brushing also is beneficial.