How can I prevent dental disease in my pet’s mouth?
There are many options for at-home oral care for your pet, including:
- Dental diet (Royal Canin Dental or Hills t/d)
- Dental chews (Oravet, Greenies, Dentastix, Prozym)
- Brushing teeth with animal-safe toothpaste
- Oral wipes (Maxiguard)
- Mouthwash (Hexarinse)
- Water additives (Aquadent)
FREE Nurse Dental Checks
Our talented nurses offer free dental checks for your pet to assess their current dental health. They will be able to collect information about your pet’s current diet and eating habits, as well as your current dental care at home. They will have a look at your pet’s teeth and gums and grade their teeth from 0-4 depending on the severity of dental disease (0 being the lowest). Our nurses will create an estimate for a dental procedure during the consultation, or if your pet doesn’t need a dental then they will create a reminder for a 6-monthly recheck. The nurses will also provide you with samples of food, dental chews, toothbrushes, and more, if indicated.
There are two specific dental diets currently available – Royal Canin Dental and Hills t/d. Both diets are premium foods which are designed to be fed exclusively, however if your pet has any underlying disease which they require a specific diet for (e.g. kidney or urinary problems), then it is best to stick to that diet!
Hills t/d has large biscuits which requires mechanical action (lots of chewing!) before the biscuits can be swallowed. This mechanical action helps to create a “brushing” action on the teeth, as it has textural characteristics which enable the tooth to rub in and out of the biscuit before it crumbles.
Royal Canin Dental has a formulation which binds to the calcium in the animal’s saliva to reduce the calcification of plaque, therefore slowing the build up of calculus on the teeth.
There are numerous dental chews on the market, however the main ones we recommend are below:
- Oravet – has dual action which cleans (by removing plaque and tartar through mechanical action) and protects (by forming a protective barrier against oral bacteria that lead to plaque and tartar build up). These chews contain delmopinol HCl which coats the teeth, tongue and gingiva to create a protective barrier against the bacteria which cause bad breath and are the basis for plaque.
- Greenies – great mechanical action for reducing plaque and tartar on the teeth
Dentastix and Prozym are also good second choices, but the best oral care will result from Oravet or Greenies as above.
Brushing and Mouth Wipes
Brushing teeth is the GOLD STANDARD in dental home-care; it is the most effective method in reducing plaque and tartar build up. It can also act as a substitute for chewing and may be recommended if your pet does not sufficiently chew his/her food or eats only soft foods. You can purchase a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste from most vet clinics and pet stores.
Mouth wipes called Maxiguard are another option if your pet doesn’t tolerate a toothbrush very well. Maxiguard comes in packs of 100 wipes and are virtually tasteless. They contain antibacterial properties to reduce the bacteria in the mouth and therefore reduce plaque and tartar in the mouth. By wrapping a wipe around your finger, you can rub the surface of the teeth and gums, which pets sometimes tolerate a lot better than a toothbrush!
Mouthwash and Water Additives
Oral rinses and Gels can also provide an effective means of chemically reducing plaque build up. This may be a suitable option if you do not have the time to brush your pet’s teeth or they will not tolerate it. Hexarinse is a palatable liquid that has antibacterial properties to reduce the number of plaque causing bacteria and is tolerated well by dogs and cats.
Aquadent is a water additive which can be used in cats and dogs over 6 months of age in order to maintain good oral hygiene, prevent bad breath and maintain healthy gums. Water should be changed daily for best effects.