I’m Peter Wong from Hidden Valley Smiles, and today I wanted to answer a question that I am asked quite often, and that is how often should you brush your dog’s teeth.
So, first of all, there are a couple of ways to brush your dog’s teeth using a toothbrush made specifically for dogs, and you also want to use a toothpaste made for dogs too.
Several companies make finger brush or toothpaste kits for dogs, so you need to talk to your veterinarian to get the right one.
Why do you need to brush your dog’s teeth?
Brushing your dog’s teeth is important. According to statistics by the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs show some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three.
After your dog eats a meal, a film of white-yellowish plaque starts to deposit on the surface of his teeth. The plaque is easy to remove at this stage, and you can even scrape it off with your nail.
If you don’t remove it within 24 to 36 hours, however, the minerals from the dog’s saliva will cause the plaque to harden into a substance that is known as tartar.
Preventing tartar buildup
At this point, tartar can no longer be removed easily with your nails or with a toothbrush. It sticks to the dog’s teeth as coral reef larvae adhere to submerged rocks.
At this point, the tartar will need to be mechanically removed by a veterinarian using specialized equipment like a hand scaler or an ultrasonic scaler. If you fail to have this hardened tartar removed from your dog’s teeth, the tartar will keep accumulating in layers, and a cascading chain of events will start to take place as the tartar accumulates under the gum line.
Tissue damage will start to occur, and the gums will start inflamed, which is known as gingivitis, and they will bleed and become swollen.
Also, the bone and soft tissue surrounding the dog’s teeth get destroyed, leading to loose teeth and tooth root abscess development.
Is daily brushing necessary?
A few years ago, the consensus said you only needed to brush your dog’s teeth two or three times per week. Now, however, most veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth daily. This makes sense because plaque accumulates quickly, and it’s important to prevent it from hardening into tartar as soon as possible.
Many dog owners may feel that brushing their dog’s teeth may be unnecessary or simply boring. But starting and maintaining daily teeth cleaning routines for your dog can help ensure he comes out of the vet’s office with a clean bill of health.
So, go ahead and start brushing your dog’s teeth today!
Dr. Peter Wong, DDS, Hidden Valley Smiles.