Polish Your Pet’s Teeth

By Mike Sweet

Bad breath is one reason to brush your pet’s teeth. Animals including dogs, cats, or horses benefit from some level of dental hygiene. It takes training for the animal to accept brushing.  I do not advocate brushing teeth in antisocial animals that would cause physical damage to owners or handlers. The training starts early. With a puppy the sequencing phrase sit, stay brush helps you understand the concept. Anything you want an old dog to do you start as a pup. Horses need their teeth floated (filed) sharp edges of the teeth are physically filed off to prevent oral ulcers, impacted food and some malocclusions. Dogs and cats benefit from the mechanical act of brushing to maintain teeth and gums healthy.

The mouth is an exceptional environment for growth of bacteria. Conditions are ideal, warm, moist, and it has conveyer delivering a readily adaptable food supply coming in. Bad breath, or halitosis, is caused by a build up of bacteria in your mouth. At first a smear layer sometimes referred to as “biofilm” is physically present. Biofilm not removed progresses to a brown tartar or calculus. This buildup of concretions is a natural place for bacteria to harbor. Bacteria, brown and bad all begin with “B”. Brushing or use of dental oral cleansing actions mimic brushing, such as chewing on approved dental devices help reduce and remove tartar.  Humans brushing on a regular basis will diminish bacteria and lessen the chances of significant dental disease or systemic bacterial infections in the body.

Brushing pets’ teeth can add 1/3 more quality life. This equates to four to five more years on pets. When humans started once a day brushing they added 20 years to their life expectancy. This is the same ratio of approximately one third I mentioned. Brushing teeth accounts for a longer healthier life and a sweeter smelling mouth. Bacteria on teeth and calculus have been shown to cause heart valve endocarditis, kidney disease, liver problems, and strong indication to some forms of spinal arthritis and bone infections. Brushing teeth extends love stories; it is that simple and that important.

For more information about a specific case, consult your veterinarian.

The outside of a pet is good for the inside of a human.


Mike Sweet, DVM


Milan Veterinary Clinic 734-439-1112

140 W Main St

Milan, MI 48160


You must be logged in to post a comment Login