Home Dental Care

Dental care does not end with a visit to your veterinarian. You need to continue your veterinarian's good work at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth is an important part of home dental care. The staff at Deer Park Animal Hospital will show you the proper method of brushing your Dog’s teeth.
You can also learn how to brush your cat's teeth by watching these instructional videos from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. You can also go here for helpful advice from the veterinarians at Deer Park Animal Hospital.
Dental Care FAQs
How Often Should I Have My Pet’s Teeth Checked?
After the examination for any retained “baby teeth” which is performed at six months, your pet should have an annual checkup for dental health when it receives its yearly booster vaccines.
Do Pets Get Cavities Like Humans?
Cavities are not as common in pets, but do occur occasionally. Frequently in cats subgingival caries may form when the gum lines have receded excessively exposing the dentine layer that is much softer than enamel.
Why Does My Dog or Cat Have Bad Breath?
The most common cause of bad breath is excessive tartar deposits on the teeth. Bacteria feed and live in the tartar and produce offensive odors. Tartar is a crusty collection of food particles, minerals, and bacteria that forms at the tooth/gum borders. However, metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, etc. can also produce halitosis.
Does Tartar on the Teeth Hurt My Pet?
Yes. As tartar accumulates at the gum line, it causes gum recession and inflammation or gingivitis. This allows bacteria in the tartar to infect and loosen the base of the tooth, causing periodontal disease. In pets, periodontal disease may lead to an infection of the heart (endocarditis) and/or of other organs, as also may occur in people. Inflammation of the gums and infection of the teeth can cause your pet considerable pain, and his/her appetite and general attitude may deteriorate.
How Can I Prevent Tartar Buildup?
Feed your pet a well-balanced, commercial diet. Brushing the teeth is an excellent way to check tartar buildup, though once hard plaque has developed, your pet may require a dentistry visit. Brushing with CET, a flavored toothpaste designed for pets, 2-3 times weekly, discourages tartar buildup.
For dogs, Booda bones, Nylabones, or large rawhide chew toys are also helpful as preventative and also aid in stimulation of the gums. If your pet does not let you brush the teeth, you may use one of the pre-made mouthwashes (e.g. Nolvadent). Alternatively, if you cannot provide maintenance, you may need to have us perform full dental scaling and polishing on a more frequent basis.
When is Dentistry Required?
Dentistry is required when hardened tartar deposits have occurred and/or when periodontal disease is present. It is also required when substantial mouth odor exists, which indicates infection or decay even if it is not readily apparent.
How Long Will the Teeth Remain Clean?
This depends on diet, dental alignment, amount of gum recession that has already occurred, and future care of the teeth. Smaller breeds tend to develop tartar much more quickly; in most cases this is a genetic predisposition and not something the owner can readily modify. However, the degree to which the owner provides ongoing dental prophylaxis heavily influences the outcome