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Brushing and Mouth Care FAQs

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Can I provide good mouth care to my pet without brushing?
We recommend establishing a daily brushing routine as the best way to prevent tooth loss, bad breath, and periodontal disease. When you're short on time, try our quick and mess-free dental pads or swab an oral solution on your pet's teeth and gums. These solutions fight bacteria and plaque. Combined with a dental chew or toy to scrape plaque and massage gums, you're doing something positive for your pet's oral health even when you can't brush.
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Can oral gels or solutions be used instead of toothpaste in a brushing routine?
Yes. These options are formulated to do much the same thing - to fight odor- and plaque-causing bacteria while helping to break down the existing plaque before it becomes a problem. These solutions can be applied with a toothbrush, sponge, or a finger. In the case of dental pads, just wipe the teeth clean and throw away - it's that easy.
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Can I use my toothpaste when brushing my pet's teeth?
No, always use a pet-formulated toothpaste, like Arm & Hammer Advanced Pet Care Oral Care Line. Human toothpaste can upset your pet's stomach or even make your pet ill.
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What are the benefits of an electric toothbrush over a standard pet toothbrush?
Often when you brush your pet's teeth, you'll find your pet wants to bite down on the brush to prevent you from further "bothering" him. When this happens, the cleaning stops. With an electric brush, your pet receives continuous cleaning even when he bites down, and you will spend less time brushing.
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Are there pet foods that are better than others to help prevent bacteria and plaque buildup in my pet's mouth?
Nutritionally-balanced, dry kibble food diets are best for pets' teeth. We also recommend hard biscuits and rawhide chews for massaging your pet's gums and to help scrape off plaque.
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I noticed many of your dental items promote gum massage. Why must I worry about massaging my dog's gums?
Even though your dog's teeth may look alright, bacteria is present and multiplying at the gum line. Just as our gums will sometimes bleed if they are not healthy, a dog's will too. Then the gums start to recede from the teeth, creating more space for bacteria to grow, and the attack on the roots and jaw begins. When brushing, make sure to gently bursh along the gumline and stimulate your pet's gums, as well.
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Do I need to seek professional assistance for my pet's oral care?
In addition to your home care routine, we recommended that you take your pet in at least once a year to receive a thorough dental exam and cleaning by a veterinarian. These deep cleanings help preserve teeth that can become overtaken first by plaque, then by tartar. Build-up of tartar can lead to gum disease and periodontal disease.
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Are there any tell-tale signs that my pet may have periodontal disease?
Common dental disease warning signs in cats and dogs include red and swollen gums, bad breath, reluctance to drink or eat, and weight loss.
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