Should I Be Brushing My Pet’s Teeth?

In the same way that it’s vital for humans to brush their teeth to practice good oral health, it’s important that your pet gets the same treatment to maintain a healthy mouth.

Why You Should Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

When you brush your pet’s teeth, you are removing plaque and tartar from their teeth. If left untreated, the tartar and plaque can build up and cause serious dental issues, such as gingivitis, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and more, not to mention bad breath. These oral issues can even lead to serious conditions in other parts of your pet’s body. This includes liver, heart, and kidney problems that can cause chronic pain and a short lifespan. By brushing your pet’s teeth, you are taking care of body their oral health and their overall health.

How You Should Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Unfortunately, brushing your pet’s teeth is not particularly enjoyable. That’s why it’s important to establish a routine and brush their teeth at least three times a week. Start by finding a time when your pet is relaxed and comfortable. You also need to come prepared. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for pets.

Getting Used to It

When you have all of your tools and your pet is calm, kneel or sit in front of them. Never stand above them or hold them down as this will make them anxious and upset. Next, test your pet’s willingness to have you near their mouth by rubbing your finger along their teeth and gums using light pressure. If your pet is comfortable with that, spread a bit of toothpaste on your finger and hold it out for them to taste. This will help them get used to the toothpaste.

The Technique

Once your pet is used to the taste of the toothpaste and the feel of something in their mouth, it’s time to start brushing! Lift your pet’s upper lip and gently massage the gum line and teeth with the toothbrush, brushing in small circles. Start with a few teeth at a time, working through the entire mouth for two minutes total. It’s most important to hit the outsides of the canine and back teeth, which is where plaque tends to build up. Some light bleeding might occur, and that’s ok. If you notice anything more, you are either brushing too aggressively or your pet might be showing signs of gum disease. Talk to your vet right away if this is the case.


Finally, end the tooth brushing experience by rewarding your pet. Give them a treat, some extra love, or playtime. It’s important that they see this as something to look forward to or something that they’ll be rewarded for doing.

While it’s very important to take care of your pet’s teeth, be sure to take care of yours, as well! At High Point Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best oral care. Call us today to make an appointment!

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