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Posted on 01-23-2014

To Brush or Not to Brush?

I took an oath to tell you to brush your pet’s teeth daily.  Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time for honesty.  Most veterinarians don’t brush their own pet’s teeth every day. Any pet owner that brushes their pet’s teeth daily can quit reading; stand up and take a bow; you are excused.  For the rest of us busy bees, please read on.

The good news is that other home dental care options exist.  The more you can do, the bigger the impact you will have on your pet’s oral health and total wellness. 


Your dog or cat has to eat anyway.  Unless a medical condition causes your pet to eat a particular diet, food can be a tool to help keep the teeth clean.  We have specific recommendations about brands with unique ingredients or kibble structure that help to decrease plaque/tartar accumulation.


Your pet has to drink anyway.  Most pets will drink water treated with AQUADENT.  We routinely dispense this product which has ingredients that:

—kill bacteria that cause plaque/tartar.
—make the tooth slick so plaque/tartar won’t easily stick


This is not a “one size fits all” recommendation.  Cats are not likely to chew for recreation, and some dogs can’t be trusted with chew-toys.  Encourage the behavior of those pets that will utilize a chew-toy or treat correctly.  This can be both a reward and tool to promote oral health.


We will be happy to show you how and give advice and pointers.  We will not make you feel like a bad person if you happen to be as non-compliant as the average pet owner.

We may need to clean your pet’s teeth and treat any infection before fully benefiting from home dental care.  A dental infection is as detrimental as any other organ infection.  You may or may not have a medical degree, but: if your pet’s mouth stinks – it’s infected, and if your pet’s gums are red – they’re painful.  Just because they can better tolerate oral pain and infection doesn’t mean they should have to.

Dr. Troy D. Smith
Manchaca Village Veterinary Care

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