Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth: There’s more at stake!
The latest statistics from the American Dental Association and Healthy People 2010 Oral Health Toolkit, shows that about half of us brush our teeth twice a day. But when it comes to pet owners brushing their pet’s teeth the percentage is much lower. According to a National Pet Owner’s Survey conducted in 2009-2010 results showed that only 1 percent of dogs and fewer than 1 percent of cats had their teeth brushed daily. Another survey conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and Hills Pet Nutrition found that over 80 percent of the veterinarians reported that only 10 percent of their clients brushed their pets teeth on a daily basis. Being a dog owner myself, I must confess that I used to be part of the majority. I never really knew how much periodontal health can impact the overall health of not only us but our animal companionsl.
Aside from clean, cavity-free teeth and fresh breath, could there be any other reasons for someone to want to brush their pet’s teeth? Well, actually the answer is YES! According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats display signs of periodontal disease by the time they are 3-years-old. They further state that this can lead to more serious health threats like infections of the vital organs. Dr. René Carlson, president of the AVMA, has stated that if left untreated, due to chronic pain and infection along with stress on the immune system, more serious conditions can arise such as heart valve disease, kidney disease, diabetes and even cancer.
A newsletter published in the University of Harvard’s Harvard Health Letter summarizes, in greater detail, how several species of bacteria which contribute to periodontal disease can also penetrate into and cause harm to the body’s blood vessels through releasing toxins and causing an immune response, leading inflammation and vascular damage.
There is more to healthy teeth besides cavities and bad breath. After learning about the impact that oral health has on the other organ systems of my dog’s body, I quickly started to pay more attention towards reversing the gum disease he had at that time and spending the little time needed to help keep my dogs teeth clean.
One product that I was very impressed with was PetzLife Oral Care Spray which contains a combination of distilled water, grapefruit seed extract along with essential oils of rosemary, thyme, neem and peppermint. After using it for two weeks, I noticed that crevices began to form between the plaque that was present and the gum line. This allowed me to easily and gently pluck off the plaque with my fingernail. Although I think this is a very effective product in helping remove plaque and minimizing future plaque from building up, I do suggest that if you would like to have your pets teeth cleaned thoroughly it is best to make an appointment with a professional veterinarian for an exam and possible dental cleansing. For more tips on choosing the right type of toothpaste for your pet feel free to check the following website links:
Please remember that because xylitol and fluoride can be harmful for pets, do not try and use human toothpaste on your pet. There are specially formulated toothpastes suited for dogs and cats which are completely safe and taste better for them.