The Importance of Oral Hygiene for Pets

Board-certified veterinarian Joel Todd Leroy Prince currently serves as medical partner with Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, where he offers comprehensive pet care for small animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles. In addition to veterinary vaccinations and surgery, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and clinic staff advise on aspects of pet care, including oral health.

Oral hygiene is essential to maintaining a pet’s overall health. Not only does keeping an animal’s teeth clean promote a healthy smile, it can also prevent painful periodontal disease. By age 3, 70% of dogs and cats show signs of gum disease. By age 1, pets should receive a thorough exam that identifies any problems or issues with teeth, gums, or oral cavities. After that, pets should visit the dentist annually for cleaning, polishing, and fluoride treatment.

To promote oral health at home, pet owners can brush their pet’s teeth a few times a week. They can also purchase tooth-friendly dry dog foods and biscuits, which can slow down the build-up of plaque and tartar, while chew toys strengthen teeth, massage the pet’s gums, and scrape away tartar.

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