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Brush, toothpaste for dogs / cats: oral hygiene [step by step

Dog toothbrush and toothpaste

Understanding the mechanisms responsible for the formation of plaque and tartar is key to considering canine and feline oral hygiene.

Many caregivers are not aware of the important role they play and the enormous "causative power" they themselves have in preventing the occurrence of periodontal diseases in their charges.

Regular care for the oral cavity, consistent cleaning of the surface of the teeth and gums as well as systematic dental checkups are activities available to every animal caregiver.

In veterinary medicine, there are few situations in which the guardian has such a great influence on the elimination of the risk of developing a given disease and, as a result, extending the life of the pet.

And it is the proper care of the pet's teeth that really contributes to the prevention of dental problems, and is even a factor that determines the health of the oral cavity.

So if the pet's guardian - in a very specific way and with very little effort and consequences - is able to affect the condition of his pet's teeth, and through his actions, provide him with healthy, clean teeth, not covered with stone, why still all hygienic procedures, carried out on the oral cavity in dogs and cats are so little popular?

There are probably many reasons for this.

Most often, keepers do not realize how important it is to clean a dog's or cat's teeth.

Many of them have outdated information about the lack of need to care for animal teeth.

They justify their passivity with the thesis that animals do not need to brush their teeth because:

  • they don't eat sweets,
  • there are natural cleansing substances in saliva,
  • after all, the teeth of a dog / cat do not break down,
  • if a stone is to appear, it will appear anyway.

Others, in turn, even tried to brush their pet's teeth, but - having encountered a wall of lack of cooperation and understanding on the part of the animal - they quickly gave up.

This article is devoted to issues related to tooth cleaning in dogs and cats.

A large part of it explains how plaque and tartar is formed in animals, what diseases can result from these two conditions, and how to properly care for oral hygiene in dogs and cats.

The reader - after reading the content, will have a chance to see that fighting the bacterial plaque in your ward does not have to be a fight with windmills.

So I invite you to read this study.

  • What is plaque?
  • Bacterial biofilm
  • How plaque forms?
  • Structure of tartar
  • Stages of plaque formation on cleaned teeth
  • The causes of tartar in dogs and cats
  • Tartar in dogs and cats are symptoms
  • Diagnosis of tartar in dogs and cats
  • Removal of tartar in a dog
  • Prognosis
  • Consequences of poor oral hygiene in animals
    • Bad breath in dogs and cats
    • Periodontal disease
    • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
    • Loss of teeth in dogs and cats
    • Feline lymphocytic plasmocytic stomatitis
    • Hypertrophic gingivitis
    • Systemic consequences
    • Bacterial endocarditis
    • Chronic renal failure
    • Bacterial pneumonia
    • Bacteraemia
  • Dental care for dogs and cats
  • How to care for the oral cavity of a dog and a cat?
  • Teeth cleaning at home
  • How to clean your dog's teeth step by step?
  • How to clean a cat's teeth step by step?
  • Oral care preparations and accessories for dogs and cats
    • Toothbrushes, cleaners and dental wipes
    • Dental wipes
    • Dental cleaner for dogs and cats
    • Toothpaste for dogs and cats
    • Mouthwash
  • Adequate diet
    • Food for animals with a tendency to build up tartar
  • Dog chews
  • Water additives
  • Complementary preparations
  • How to choose a preparation for the oral hygiene of dogs and cats
  • How to prevent the reappearance of tartar?
  • Reasons why plaque needs to be pulled off

What is plaque?

Dog plaque

Plaque, or plaque, is a sticky layer that covers the teeth and gums of both humans and animals, and is formed within hours after eating a meal.

The formation of sediment itself is a completely natural process, but as a result it is not conducive to health.

And all thanks to bacteria that colonize the oral cavity quite quickly, and they do it more readily and more quickly, the longer food remains on the teeth and gums.

If such plaque is not removed in time (preferably by careful brushing of the teeth), the plaque begins to harden within 24 hours, combining with the mineral salts present in the saliva.

Microorganisms multiply, and the more there are, the greater the risk of developing dental disease.

The body, defending itself, activates the immune forces that are to eliminate intruders.

Unfortunately, in the heat of battle, various substances and enzymes are produced, which have an impact on the tissues of the oral cavity, ultimately leading to their destruction.

As the plaque gradually becomes saturated with mineral salts, tartar develops, which over time leads to gum disease.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of problems.

In the absence of any intervention by the caregiver (as well as the veterinarian), the undesirable processes in the oral cavity continue, often leading to the following:

  • periodontal disease,
  • tooth loss,
  • the appearance of systemic diseases.

Of course, not all of the negative effects of neglecting oral hygiene always develop.

Defense mechanisms, which are part of the immune system of the organism, try to limit the already existing damage and prevent the occurrence of new ones.

The oral microenvironment thereby achieves some kind of stability, and even despite the further development of tartar, overt periodontitis may not develop.

Unfortunately, however, this blacker scenario often comes true, including serious systemic complications.

Let's take a look at how plaque and tartar are formed on the teeth of dogs and cats.

This will help you understand why brushing your teeth is so important and why you should do it systematically.

Bacterial biofilm

Bacterial biofilm

Plaque is known as a biofilm or a bacterial film.

This biofilm is formed on the surface of the teeth and gums and is a factor underlying various dental problems.

In many cases, he is responsible for the presence of tartar, gingivitis and subsequent periodontal diseases.

From a microbiological point of view, plaque has a very interesting property of creating the so-called. movie.

This feature is nothing new; in nature, the vast majority of bacteria occur not as single cells (i.e. planktonic forms), but as related, organized cultures, constituting a kind of membrane.

This is referred to as a biofilm and is a very important feature of bacteria that allows them to colonize, and is responsible for their virulence (it is many dangerous, pathogenic bacteria or fungi that have the ability to create a biofilm).

A biofilm is therefore a cluster of bacterial (or fungal) microcolonies - it may include several species of microorganisms, which are covered with an extracellular, amorphous polymer.

Such a bacterial "formation" is not only an architectural masterpiece, with a built-in fluid circulation network, enabling the uptake of nutrients, oxygen transfer or the removal of metabolic products, but also behaves like one, multicellular organism inhabiting specific niches, e.g.:

  • teeth,
  • gums,
  • tongue.

An extensive transport system in the structure of the biofilm gives the possibility of growth and survival for bacteria that are deeper, and at the same time its layered structure allows for some kind of specialization in individual layers.

There is a huge amount of microorganisms in the mouths of animals - it is estimated that they belong to approx. 350 species.

They inhabit all niches, such as the surface of the tongue, gums, teeth, tonsils.

When you eat, chew food, or even move your tongue, bacteria can move between different parts of the mouth.

This is due to the moist environment provided by the saliva present in the mouth.

Saliva contains a number of factors that inhibit the multiplication of bacteria, such as e.g. lysozyme, lactoferrin, specific antibodies and many others.

However, those bacteria that have adapted to live in the mouth have the ability to use certain components of saliva for their own purposes.

Paradoxically, it can contribute to the formation of plaque, providing bacteria with:

  • glycoproteins,
  • glucose,
  • citrates,
  • urea.

This is one of the weaknesses of the theory cited by dog ​​handlers about natural saliva cleansing mechanisms.

Yes - they are present, but not always efficient enough to protect the teeth against the action of microorganisms.

How plaque forms?

Plaque begins to build up (practically right after eating) as a result of chemical reactions carried out by bacteria in the mouth.

These processes take place with the participation of food and saliva.

Certain groups of nutrients make animals more likely to build up plaque.

Sugar, for example, is a great breeding ground for bacteria, which means that feeding your pet foods high in carbohydrates contributes to faster plaque build-up.

Over time, it will mineralize and a more serious problem will arise - calculus will form on the teeth.

Dental plaque is formed as follows:

  1. The animal eats a meal that produces a sticky, rubbery film that covers the pet's gums and teeth.
    The integrating substance is glycoproteins derived from saliva, gingival fluid, exfoliated epithelial cells of the oral cavity and food particles.
  2. Over the course of a few hours, the sediment gradually changes from sticky and rubbery to more firm in consistency and texture.
    The hardening of the plaque usually occurs within 24 hours of a meal.
    In its initial stages, plaque is soft and composed of mineral salts, organic matter, bacteria, serum and food particles adhering to the teeth.
    It gets harder and harder over time.
  3. Tartar forms as plaque hardens and builds up above and below the gumline.
    This appears as a yellowish or light brown discoloration near the gingival margin.
    Then it becomes noticeable and this is the time to go to the veterinarian to remove the deposit.

If you miss this point, the tartar will gradually build up, leading to gingivitis.

It is an early and yet reversible stage of periodontal disease when prompt treatment allows the inflammation to be relieved.

If the inflammatory processes persist, the periodontal tissues are further destroyed, which ultimately leads to the lowering of the gumline and bone loss with possible loss of teeth.

Inflammation is accompanied by an intensive multiplication of bacteria that penetrate deep into the tissues, get into the bloodstream and are spread through the blood throughout the body.

Looking at the formation of tartar in more detail, it was found that different species of bacteria are responsible for its accumulation.

The most common are:

  • streptococci,
  • actinomycetes,
  • anaerobic gram-negative bacilli,
  • spirochetes
  • and other.

They colonize both subgingival and supragingival areas, multiply and then die, being replaced by subsequent bacterial generations.

As a result of these processes, an early form of plaque is formed, which is enriched with mucous substances.

The plaque, which is a cluster of bacteria, functionally behaves like a complex, multicellular organism.

Its microorganisms create a hydrogel shell around them, the so-called. matrix into which they secrete various substances.

The matrix has multiple functions that enable bacteria to further colonize and survive in the oral cavity environment.

  • Such a hydrogel shell provides the microorganisms with a moist environment, preventing them from drying out.
  • It is a binder that ensures communication between cells and the external environment.
  • It protects against the unfavorable influence of external factors, such as temperature fluctuations, pH and toxic substances.

And the worst thing is that such a biofilm is extremely difficult to detach from the substrate.

The plaque covering the gums and teeth is then saturated with calcium carbonate and a small amount of apatite.

The calculus appears as granular, yellow-brown masses on the cheek surface of the upper maxillary molars.

First, it is formed near the orifices of the salivary glands, i.e. at the level of the fourth premolars and the first molars of the maxilla.

Tartar is deposited both supra-gingivally and subgingivally.

The formation of a stone plate on the surface of the gums is closely related to gum inflammation, and in the later stages - to periodontitis and erosion of the tooth surface.

This is often accompanied by pain and may make the animal refuse to feed.

Structure of tartar

Tartar in a dog

Ripe tartar is mostly made of mineralized material (mainly hydroxyapatite), which is approx. 80% of the composition of this hard and problematic mass.

It is also a scaffolding for organic ingredients.

Such a plate is irritating to surrounding tissues, and its rough surface promotes further bacterial accumulation, leading to the continued growth of tartar.

Histologically, the stones are made up of separate layers.

  • The outermost shell is bacteria (mainly cocci, rods and filamentous bacteria).
    They are arranged in the form of aggregates of various bacterial forms: small sticks alternate with bundles of filamentous bacteria.
    The surfaces of the latter are often covered with cocci, and their dense cell walls are typical of Actinomyces spp.
  • In the central part of the stone slab there are mineral elements, mucus substances as well as cellular and bacterial debris.
  • The innermost layers, adjacent to the tooth surface, are mainly made of leukocytes, exfoliated epithelial cells and bacteria.
    Bacterial populations are similar to those found in the surface layer of the stone, although spirochetes are more common here.
    Bacterial cultures from such material contain a large number of streptococci and actinomycetes.
    This layer of stone deposits may also include:

    • Acinetobacter calcoaceticus,
    • Corynebacterium xerosis,
    • Eikenella corrodens,
    • Moraxella spp.,
    • Pseudomonas spp.,
    • Staphylococcus spp.

Different types of stones may contain other species of bacteria and / or fungi, but they do not constitute a significant percentage of the total bacterial population.

An important issue in the formation of plaque is the kind of cooperation that occurs between bacteria.

Streptococci produce macromolecules, which allow bacteria to stick to the surface of the teeth.

Once the first layer of microbes is present on the teeth, additional deposits appear as a result of adhesion between the bacteria.

Actinomycetes seem to cooperate with streptococci on this issue via increasing the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans on the surface of the bacteria.

Stages of plaque formation on cleaned teeth

The following list is intended to highlight the role of regular tooth brushing in animals.

Many caregivers have a misconception that it is enough to go to a veterinarian, he will do it oral cavity sanation treatment and the tartar problem will be solved.

Nothing could be more wrong.

As can be seen in the list below, the bacteria are not idle.

Almost immediately after professional cleaning, the reconstruction of the lost bacterial plaque begins on the teeth.

That is why brushing your teeth is so important even after the sanation procedure.

  • On the surface of (clean) teeth, a "acquired casing " is formed - pellicula.
  • After approx 8 hours they already appear in the casing single clusters of bacteria.
  • After 12 hours follows the rapid growth of microbes.
  • After 24 hours, the tooth crown is completely covered with bacteria (mainly grains).
  • After 48 hours join them filamentous bacteria.
  • After a few days cocci are concentrated around the filamentous bacteria in the superficial layer of the plaque.
    In the deeper layer there are gram-positive bacteria forming palisades.
  • After approx 9 days the plate is much thicker, and this reduces the oxygen concentration in it.
    Now, anaerobic and relatively aerobic microbes come into play.
  • Over the next few days, the bacterial composition is stabilized and a relative balance between the microorganisms is achieved.
    The plate is considered a "mature plate ".
  • Calcium and phosphate ions from saliva build up in the thicker layer of the plaque.
  • With the favorable action of bacterial enzymes, the mineralization of the plaque occurs:
    insoluble calcium phosphate crystals are formed, which fuse with each other, ultimately forming a hard mass of stone.

Dental plaque develops in animals at an early age.

Tartar is quite common in dogs after the age of 1. age.

The mere presence of a stone might not be so problematic if it were not associated with serious consequences.

For many years it was considered a cosmetic defect of little importance for the health and life of pets.

However, today we know that it is one of the main causes of not only periodontal diseases, but also serious, systemic diseases, often ending premature death of the animal.

The causes of tartar in dogs and cats

The causes of tartar in dogs and cats

The direct cause of the formation of bacteria that are responsible for the formation of plaque.

So why not all animals will have a stone, and if so, the degree of its intensity varies so much?

And why in some animals, even in the absence of oral hygiene, tartar will never develop?

Well, the mere presence of bacteria and their activity in the oral cavity does not mean that there is a problem with calculus.

However, there is a whole range of dispositional factors whose coexistence (in various combinations) contributes to faster and easier mineralization of the bacterial plaque.

Here they are:

Predisposition to the appearance of tartar:

  • Lack of oral hygiene.
    It is the primary cause of scale formation.
  • Genetic predisposition.
    Many features can contribute to faster and easier tartar build-up:

    • the composition of saliva,
    • enamel structure,
    • teeth arrangement and much more .
  • Race predisposition.
    Certain breeds of dogs, especially miniature and brachycephalic dogs, tend to have more frequent dental problems.
    This is due to the arrangement of the teeth in the small and short mouths - they are very often crowded.
    These breeds are also characterized by more frequent problems with bite and incorrect arrangement of the teeth, hence the predisposition to develop tartar is more pronounced in them.
  • One of the important factors that predispose to the development of plaque are persistent milk teeth.
    In places where they adhere directly to the erupted permanent teeth, there is no proper flow of saliva and gingival fluid between them, which promotes the rapid deposition of bacterial plaque.
    These places are filled with food debris, and plaque builds up quickly.
    This leads to the development of periodontitis.
  • Other anatomical abnormalities such as: abnormal structure of the bones of the skull (especially the mandible and / or jaw), abnormal bite, incorrect position of the teeth, supernumerary teeth, crowding of teeth, abnormal attachment of the frenulum of the tongue, lips, cheeks.
    They significantly affect the mechanics of biting and chewing, as well as the circulation of saliva and gingival fluid.
    Teeth self-cleaning can be difficult, leading to the development of plaque and the build-up of tartar.
  • The age of the animal.
    In older dogs and senior cats, there is a greater tendency to accumulate plaque on the teeth.
  • All diseases that lead to the impairment of the body's immune system, but also those that are associated with a reluctance to eat.
    There are:

    • any infectious diseases (e.g. leptospirosis, feline leukemia),
    • diabetes,
    • kidney failure,
    • Hypothyroidism,
    • allergies,
    • gastrointestinal diseases,
    • hormonal disorders,
    • vitamin deficiencies.
  • Long-term stress causing decreased immunity.
  • Diet.
    Meat, raw diets with the addition of bone keep the teeth and gums of carnivores in perfect condition.
    This is what happens in nature, where the animal eats what it hunts.
    Raw meat contains natural enzymes, and bones clean the teeth in a natural way as they chew.
    Unfortunately, domestic dogs and cats are very often fed commercial foods that contain a significant amount of carbohydrates, which tend to "stick" to their teeth.
    Also, the administration of soft, finely chopped food or (horrifyingly) table scraps significantly contributes to the formation of tartar.
  • The use of certain medications:
    • immunosuppressants,
    • anticonvulsants,
    • calcium channel blockers.

Tartar in dogs and cats

Tartar in dogs and cats

In animals, the symptoms of developing tartar may not be as obvious as it is in humans.

It happens that your pet's dental problems will only be detected during a routine clinical examination in the office, during which the doctor will look into the mouth and throat.

However, there are some common signs that tartar is starting to build up in your resident's mouth.

As it is sometimes detected late, other, secondary symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis may also be heard.

These are the most common:

  • reluctance to eat, careful feeding and biting,
  • halitosis, i.e. an unpleasant smell from the mouth,
  • the presence of yellowish or brown hard deposits on the teeth just below the gums,
  • loss of food bites when chewing,
  • red and swollen gums (may bleed when eaten or touched),
  • erosions and ulcers of the oral mucosa,
  • weight loss,
  • soreness when touching the mouth,
  • reluctance to grooming (especially in cats),
  • discharge from the nose, usually unilateral (in advanced conditions it may be bilateral), initially serous, mucous, then purulent,
  • salivation,
  • swelling under the eye (most often one-sided),
  • apathy, reluctance to play.

If you notice these symptoms in your pet, you should contact your veterinarian.

Problems with the gums or teeth will not go away on their own, and - if left untreated - can lead to serious consequences, not only related to the oral cavity, but also systemic.

I have already mentioned that the plaque becomes saturated with mineral salts over time, hardens and transforms into tartar.

If it is not still treated, it becomes not only a problem in itself (because it gives specific, not very pleasant clinical symptoms), but also constitutes the vestibule of developing clinical conditions, such as:

  • Gingivitis.
    This is one of the most common dental problems in dogs and cats.
    Initially, it may manifest itself only as an unpleasant odor from the mouth.
    A yellowish or light brown stone is visible at the gumline.
    As the inflammation process continues, the gums become swollen and reddened, tender, and can bleed easily.
    If left untreated, serious gum disease and dental problems, including tooth loss, develop.
  • Periodontal disease.
    They are a consequence of untreated gum disease.
    With the development of inflammatory processes within the oral cavity, the gums gradually decline, and such a gum leaves an empty space, referred to as a pocket.
    It becomes infected and in the absence of appropriate treatment, the gums and the structures supporting the tooth will be destroyed.
  • Abscess - a collection of pus, located around a dog's or cat's tooth.

As tartar grows along the gumline, it weakens the connection between the teeth and gums.

It literally pushes your teeth out, weakening them, making them loose and eventually falling out.

In very advanced cases, such a strong superstructure in the form of a plate on the gingiva is the only element holding the teeth in their position.

Many times during the removal of tartar it happens that the tooth falls out after removing the tartar.

This is because it is the stone plate that first destroyed the connection between the tooth and the gum that is now the only structure that holds the tooth in position.

After removing such cement, the tooth falls out.

As the gums recede, they expose the sensitive part of the tooth (devoid of enamel).

This causes pain and an aversion to eating.

The consequences of the presence of stone are:

  • inflammation of the gums, visible as red and swollen gums,
  • moving or missing teeth,
  • tooth loss,
  • deepening of the gingival pockets,
  • bleeding from the gum mucosa,
  • exposing the tooth roots,
  • erosions on the cheek mucosa,
  • periodontal or periapical abscesses,
  • the presence of pus in the mouth,
  • oronasal fistulas,
  • abscesses,
  • obstruction or inflammation of the nasolacrimal tubules,
  • osteomyelitis,
  • in advanced cases (with secondary periodontal diseases), even pathological jaw fractures may occur.

Diagnosis of tartar in dogs and cats

Diagnosis of tartar in dogs and cats

It is most often presented at a doctor's office during a general examination.

Most animal keepers do not look at the mouths of their pets, so when tartar is noticed, it has usually reached the point where gum disease has developed in its first or second stage.

If, on the other hand, you are the owner of a calm and gentle dog or cat, there is a good chance that you will be the first to notice the presence of a stone in the mouth.

Perhaps they will not be that advanced yet.

During your visit to the clinic, you will have to inform your doctor about any dietary habits, the way you eat, any difficulties with food intake and any irregularities that you have noticed.

Be sure to report to your doctor about any loss of appetite, mouth odor, saliva and other symptoms of gum disease.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, including a dental evaluation.

He can also do blood tests (to assess the pet's general condition).

During this examination, the veterinarian assesses:

  1. Potential craniofacial asymmetry, swelling, or abnormal discharge (e.g. nose, eye) - these features may indicate an ongoing pathological process within the oral cavity.
  2. The outer surface of the teeth, gums, bite.
  3. After opening the mouth, he will assess the inner surface of the teeth and gums, as well as the tongue, palate, oral mucosa, tonsils.
  4. The size, consistency, and shape of the salivary glands and surrounding lymph nodes.
  5. Dental radiograph (often a veterinarian sends the animal for a radiological examination of the teeth; it is sometimes justified in many cases, also before the treatment of the oral cavity and in the presence of periodontal diseases).

Removal of tartar in a dog

Removal of tartar in a dog

Since the presence of tartar is noticed relatively late by the caregiver, periodontal diseases are extremely common and the help of a veterinarian is necessary.

On the other hand - even despite the very scrupulous observance of the rules of hygiene and systematic brushing of the teeth of a dog or cat, plaque and tartar may still form.

It depends on the coexistence of predisposing factors.

Treatment of the presence of plaque and / or tartar is strictly dependent on the severity of the coexisting gum or periodontal disease.

Therefore, first of all, the patient undergoes a thorough examination of the oral cavity - initially a cursory examination on the conscious patient, then a thorough examination of the oral cavity structures on the anesthetized patient.

The next step is to perform an X-ray examination of the oral cavity (using intraoral appliances).

Radiographs very often allow the visualization of changes that were not noticed in the initial examination.

In a situation where a patient comes to the office who has problems with tartar, or - even worse - with periodontitis, it is good to have a procedure that clearly defines the next stages of professional tooth cleaning and the course of examination and treatment of possible diseases.

Such an action plan will enable quick and efficient diagnosis, help determine the scope and intensity of changes, and also help to develop an optimal method of therapy.

The next steps in treating gum and periodontal disease typically include:

  1. Professional tooth cleaning performed under general anesthesia by a veterinarian.
    In order for the sanation of the oral cavity to be performed correctly, the patient's general anesthesia is NECESSARY.
    The cleaning itself consists in the removal of supragingival and subgingival localized plaque and tartar (this is the so-called. scaling) and teeth polishing.
    This basic procedure is crucial for further treatment.
    Thanks to it, it is possible to reduce inflammation, and in addition, it is a necessary, initial stage of more advanced therapy of periodontal diseases. The supra-gingival and subgingival plaques must be removed.

    • The supragingival plaque is mechanically removed using an ultrasonic scaler and hand instruments; this is called. scaling.
    • For subgingival scaling, it is necessary to use special tips for ultrasonic scalers and curettes to clean periodontal pockets.
    • Subgingival curettage Its task is to remove the diseased pocket epithelium and granulation tissue from the tooth root surface.
      Curettage of gingival pockets removes diseased tissues along with bacterial biofilm remaining in the gingival pocket.
      The purpose of this treatment is to allow the remaining tissue to heal.
    • Subgingival lavage to remove residual polishing paste, cell debris, and tartar.
      When performing scaling, it is recommended to rinse the mouth with mild antiseptic agents.
      For this purpose, you can use a solution of chlorhexidine gluconate 0.12%, fluorides 1.64-2%, hydrogen peroxide 0.2% or potassium permanganate 0.02-0.1%.
    • It is also done at this stage assessment of the crown of each tooth and the subgingival area for any irregularities.
  2. The bare root surfaces are then smoothed.
  3. After the scaling is done, it is necessary to be exact polishing the surface of the teeth with special brushes and polishing pastes.
    It is extremely important because this treatment delays the re-colonization by bacteria (microbes adhere to rough surfaces more easily and faster).
  4. Pocket depth assessment periodontitis with a periodontal probe.
    The depth of the pocket depends on the size of the animal and the tooth it concerns.
    In medium breed dogs, the pocket depth should not be greater than 2 mm, and in cats of medium size - no more than 1 mm.
    Pathological pockets should be eliminated by cutting them out or gingivoplasty (to restore the correct contours of the gums).
  5. Periodontal treatment (based on an earlier X-ray examination and probing).
    Periodontal surgery is performed to remove deep-lying aggregate, eliminate pockets and remove teeth.
    In a situation where the tooth pocket or gingival recession is greater than 50% of the root, tooth extraction or periodontal surgery is recommended.
  6. During the procedure, performed under general anesthesia, teeth that require extraction are also removed.
  7. Periprocedural antibiotic therapy (local or parenteral administration of drugs).
    • Systemically administered antibiotics are usually used to protect against the effects of bacteremia that can occur during surgery.
      In addition, for some time they reduce the symptoms of infection by eliminating bacteria present on the surface of the plaque (the so-called. planctoid forms).
      However, after the end of therapy, symptoms may quickly recur, because - in the absence of oral hygiene - bacteria present in the deeper layers of the plaque intensively multiply, and these pathogens may become resistant to antibiotics.
      Those microorganisms that survive antibiotic therapy can use the dead cells as a source of nutrients, thanks to which the bacterial biofilm can rebuild to its original size within a few hours.
      Therefore, the administration of antibiotics in general should be reserved for high-risk patients, i.e. debilitated, immunocompromised, suffering from chronic systemic diseases (e.g. hormonal disorders, cardiovascular diseases) or in the presence of severe infections.
      The most commonly used antibiotics are:

      • metronidazole,
      • clindamycin,
      • enrofloxacin,
      • amoxicillin with clavulanic acid.
    • Topical antibiotics such as ointment with metronidazole, clindamycin, doxycycline, polymyxin B or framycetin.
      They are applied directly to the changed gingival tissues and pockets.
  8. In the case of abnormal tissue masses, it is recommended to collect a sample for histopathological examination.
  9. Taking and evaluating X-rays after the procedure.
    This is especially important after tooth extractions, one of the complications after which is leaving the root or part of it.
  10. Examine and rinse the mouth to remove any residue.
  11. The use of local agents that reduce the deposition of bacterial plaque, such as various types of antibacterial preparations (e.g. 0.12% chlorhexidine digluconate, triclosan, fluorine, zinc ascorbate, povidone iodine 10%).
    It can be carried out at this stage fluoridation to strengthen the resistance of the teeth against caries and resorption.
    This treatment has an antibacterial effect, thus preventing the build-up of dental plaque.
    It also reduces tooth sensitivity and strengthens the tooth structure.
  12. Covering the teeth with an insulating substance.
    It has the consistency of a wax (hence this procedure is often referred to as waxing), and its task is to isolate the tooth surface from the oral cavity environment.
    This creates tight protection against the rapid build-up of bacterial plaque.
    If waxing has been used, it may be slightly delayed to start oral hygiene after brushing.
    The isolating substance protects the teeth against bacteria for approx 7-10 days.
    Immediately after this time, all hygienic procedures recommended by the doctor should be implemented.
  13. The use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.
  14. Referral to a specialist, if the veterinarian treating the animal does not have the appropriate knowledge, experience, equipment or conditions to perform a specialized operation or treatment.
  15. Providing the caregiver with guidelines on home oral hygiene.
  16. Strict oral hygiene at home and implementation of the procedure recommended by the doctor.


Dog tartar treatment

The prognosis for the treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease is generally good.

If teeth had to be removed, the animal gets used to the new situation very quickly and copes with food intake.

However, it is important to remember to optimally adjust the diet to the changed conditions in the way of taking, chewing and rubbing food.

Also, do not forget about the daily oral hygiene of your client.

If you choose not to do so, you will probably have to go back to your doctor soon to have the tartar removed again.

Gum and dental problems not only affect oral health, but blood-borne infection to all organs of the body can cause other systemic problems that can even be life-threatening over time.

Consequences of poor oral hygiene in animals

Consequences of poor oral hygiene in animals

The consequences of a lack of oral hygiene can be really distressing.

Bad breath, the presence of tartar or even gingivitis are just the beginning of the problems that you will face.

Serious periodontal diseases can lead not only to tooth loss, but also life-threatening systemic complications.

But from the beginning.

Plaque can be the source of up to 300 - 350 species of bacteria that continually produce exo- and endotoxins that are released into the animal's body.

Both bacteria and their products of metabolism enter the circulation and hence the coronary and cerebral vessels, leading to serious diseases (endocarditis, valvular insufficiency or even stroke).

The body tries to fight the current pathogens by producing huge amounts of antibodies.

However, their presence in many cases can exacerbate the problem:

soluble antigens combine with antibodies, creating the so-called. immune complexes that damage the glomeruli or cause arthritis.

Additionally, increased secretion of inflammatory mediators (e.g. interleukin-1, Il-6, Il-8, TNF-α, CRP) leads to a systemic inflammatory reaction.

It all starts with an innocent bacterial plaque on your teeth.

Let's see the consequences of plaque and / or tartar in dogs and cats:

Bad breath in dogs and cats

The main causes of bad breath of our pet (apart from systemic problems, such as e.g. uremia or liver disease) are gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Often, halitosis (fetor ex ore) is the first motive for a veterinary consultation.

The caregiver does not notice other symptoms, but states that the dog or cat has had a very bad smell from its mouth for some time.

This is one of the next arguments to be more interested in what our animal has in its mouth.

Often, before halitosis occurs in an animal, other signs of inflammation occurring in the oral cavity are already present, such as:

  • swelling of the gums,
  • pain when taking food,
  • loss of appetite.

Where does the unpleasant smell in the mouth come from??

They are responsible for halitosis, i.e. an unpleasant smell from the mouth volatile sulfur compounds (hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, dimethyl sulfide), but also non-sulfur compounds, which are a product of the decomposition of nutrients due to the activity of bacteria.

Thiols (thioalcohols, mercaptans) are sulfur compounds, the presence of which can be demonstrated during a routine examination of the pet's oral cavity with suspected periodontal disease.

There are straps for this purpose OraStrip.

The diagnostic strip is placed on the gum just below its edge and rubbed from the last molar to the canine.

It is important that the strip is in direct contact with the fluid coming from the gingival groove and not with saliva.

If the indicator turns yellow, there is a periodontal infection caused by anaerobic bacteria.

The darker the shade of bile, the higher the concentration of thiols and the more advanced the periodontal infection.

Treatment should be started as soon as possible, otherwise it will develop:

  • progressive periodontal disease,
  • tooth loss,
  • and even the emergence of distant organ effects.

Importantly, the result may be positive even in patients who do not have plaque or tartar in the clinical examination.

The process may then take place under the gumline and diagnostic steps should be taken to identify the source of the elevated thiol concentration.

If, on the other hand, the diagnostic strip does not change color, it means that periodontitis has not yet developed.

Periodontal disease

This is one of the most common effects of tartar.

As gum and tooth problems initially go unnoticed by the caregiver, the condition is not detected early enough.

After all, many adult dogs and cats already show some symptoms of periodontal disease, which could be prevented by early oral health monitoring (from adolescence) and proper oral hygiene.

Often, diseases of the gums and teeth last long enough that, as a result, it is impossible to save some teeth, and the animal goes to a doctor in advanced disease.

The periodontium is a kind of scaffolding for the teeth.

These are the tissues and structures responsible for keeping the teeth in the alveoli so that they can function properly.

Periodontium - under proper conditions - also provides effective isolation against the penetration of bacteria and harmful products of their metabolism.

The periodontium includes:

  • gums,
  • periodontium,
  • periosteum,
  • root cement,
  • periodontal ligament (attachment of the tooth to the socket),
  • alveolar bone.

The causes of periodontal disease

Periodontal diseases usually develop as a result of tartar that has been present in the oral cavity for some time.

The process of its superstructure is ongoing, but what we see in the form of a stone slab above the gums is not yet as dangerous as what is happening underneath it.

This is where the real battle takes place.

Well, in the process of plaque and calculus formation in the spaces under the gums, the bacteria that take part in it cause damage to the tissues that support the tooth in this place.

They do this in two ways:

  1. First, as a result of their metabolic processes, they secrete enzymes and toxins that directly affect the tissues, leading to their destruction.
  2. Secondly, the presence of bacteria stimulates the immune system of the dog or cat.
    As a result, a discharge in the form of white blood cells and various pro-inflammatory substances is drawn to the infected area.
    They penetrate the space between the gum and the tooth or bone, striving to destroy microorganisms.
    These processes produce various substances that affect not only intruders but also periodontal tissues, causing damage and weakening of the structures supporting the teeth.
    As a result, the body's immune system shoots at its own gate, often worsening the disease.

As you can see, it is bacteria that are the main cause of problems, being not only the starting point for the formation of plaque and tartar, but also intensifying inflammatory processes and the destruction of periodontal tissues.

Is the body powerless then??

After all, the mouth has a whole range of bacteria.

So why not every animal will develop such serious conditions?

Under normal conditions in the oral cavity - despite the presence of a whole mass of microorganisms - a certain kind of balance is established, which is ensured by the coexistence of various defense mechanisms of the body.

These are among others:

  • The mucosa that lines the inside of the mouth. It is a continuous barrier that protects against the action of microorganisms and their penetration into the bloodstream;
  • Natural exfoliation of the epithelium - bacteria are removed along with the dead epithelial cells.
  • Saliva, which contains numerous antimicrobial substances (including.in. lysozyme, interferon, lactoferrin).
    These substances work on many levels - neutralizing bacterial toxins, binding substances necessary for bacterial growth, and also damaging their cell walls directly;
  • Defense mechanisms of the immune system.
    Since saliva itself is a mixture of salivary glands, serum exudate, gingival fluid, and exfoliated epithelial cells, it contains numerous immune cells that are capable of phagocytosis and thus inactivating microbes.

It is thanks to such mechanisms that it is possible to develop a certain kind of consensus between the body and the bacteria present in the oral cavity, which are still present in it, but in a limited amount.

As you can easily guess, any disturbance in the existing order can lead to periodontal diseases.

One of the main reasons is neglect of oral hygiene, but the root cause is always bacteria multiplying in an uncontrolled way.

Periodontal disease is mainly gingivitis (visible as their redness) i periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth).

As a result, the following may occur:

  • significant loss of the gum of the bone around the tooth,
  • the formation of a fistula (i.e. a pathological opening connecting the oral cavity with the nasal cavity),
  • jaw fracture (as a result of weakened bones),
  • bone infections (osteomyelitis).

Bacteria enter the bloodstream, entering various tissues and organs of the body.

They often cause changes in the heart, liver and kidneys.

The development of periodontitis may last for years, ultimately leading to irreversible changes both in the structures of the periodontium itself and in internal organs.

The occurrence of periodontal diseases is influenced by many factors, related to each other in various ways.

Whether the disease will develop and what its severity will be depends, among other things, on:

  • the breed of the animal,
  • his age,
  • genetic predisposition,
  • the way you chew your food,
  • general health,
  • general nutrition,
  • the presence of malocclusion,
  • the presence of pathogenic bacteria,
  • diets (especially soft food feeding),
  • lack of beneficial bacteria in the mouth,
  • the body's defenses,
  • lack of oral hygiene.

Classification of periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases can be diagnosed at various stages of their advancement.

The degree of loss of connective tissue attachment, which is determined on the basis of clinical and X-ray examinations, plays an important role in the classification.

  1. Grade I.
    Only gingivitis is present.
    At this stage, gingivitis is evident, but there is no loss of connection with the associated teeth.
    The margin of the alveolar ridge of the gum (this is the part of the gum where the teeth protrude) looks normal.
  2. Grade II.
    This is early periodontitis.
    Loss of tooth adhesion in less than 25%.
  3. Grade III .
    Moderate periodontitis.
    Loss of tooth adhesion on a level 25-50%.
  4. Advanced periodontitis - greater than 50% loss of tooth adhesion.

Microorganisms that are most often isolated in cases of periodontitis are aerobic and anaerobic bacteria of the following types:

  • Porphyromonas (P.gingivalis, P. gulae, P.macacae),
  • Tenarella,
  • Treponema,
  • Prevotella,
  • Fusobacterium,
  • Bacteroides,
  • Streptococcus,
  • Pasteurella,
  • Escherichia,
  • Actinomyces,
  • Neisseria.

Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)

It is the initial phase of periodontal disease that begins with an "innocent" plaque.

Gingivitis is very often caused by overgrown tartar.

If home hygiene is not performed, the plaque remains intact on the cheek surfaces of the teeth, gradually hardening and transforming into rough tartar.

Over time, it occurs in animals gingivitis.

When diagnosing the presence of bacterial plaque, calculus and gingivitis, treatment should be based on professional tooth cleaning in the office, rinsing and polishing.

The caregiver receives recommendations on the use of local agents to alleviate the inflammation of the gums and on further regular oral hygiene.

Plaque build-up can lead to the development of gingivitis within weeks.

In the course of gingivitis, the inflammatory process affects only the gums, does not spread to other periodontal elements, such as ligaments or the alveolar bone, and the epithelial attachment is not destroyed.

A so-called gingival test can be used to assess the gums. Gum Index, introduced in 1963 by Loe and Silness.

It uses a blunt-ended gavage examination to assess the condition of the gums and to respond to the examination itself.

The gingival health criteria are as follows:

  • 0 - no ignition,
  • 1 - mild inflammation, slight color change, slight swelling, no bleeding on probing,
  • 2 - moderate inflammation, moderate surface gloss, redness, bleeding on probing,
  • 3 - severe inflammation, severe redness and hypertrophy, ulceration, tendency to spontaneous bleeding.

(From "The gingival index, the plaque index and the retention index systems. ")

Bleeding during probing shows that the inflammatory process is spreading.

If treated at this stage, gingivitis is a reversible process.

If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis (periodontitis / periodontitis), during which the periodontal ligaments, alveolar bones and gingival pockets are destroyed.

Even the introduction of treatment will not help restore these tissues, although the inflammatory process will be inhibited.

Early periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis leads to early periodontal disease.

This means that there has been a loss of less than 25% connective tissue attachment and alveolar bone loss.

The connective tissue attachment is made of collagen fibers in the form of a ring surrounding the tooth.

They connect the edge of the alveolar process with the enamel-cement junction.

This attachment attaches the gingiva to the root cementum and to the alveolar process.

Therefore, if this connection is lost, the effect of this is the deepening of the gingival pocket and the deposition of tartar in this subgingival space.

It happens that this process is accompanied by a gingival recession - then there is no pathological pocket.

Treatment in the case of disease without the presence of pathological gingival pockets is based on the same activities as in gingivitis.

If, on the other hand, there are gingival pockets of increased depth - it is recommended to use local antibiotics (e.g. kilndamycin or doxycycline).

Intermediate periodontitis / moderate periodontitis

In its course, there is a loss 25-50% tooth attachment.

The gingival pockets deepen even more and may be accompanied by bleeding from the gums.

Occasionally there is a purulent discharge (visible during probing).

At this stage, the tooth roots are exposed (due to gum recession).

Treatment of this condition is more serious, because in addition to the previously mentioned procedures, more complicated mucogingival surgery may be necessary.

The pet's guardian should provide regular, daily oral care at home, even twice a day.

In places where the gingival pocket is deeper than 5 mm, it is necessary to clean and remove the dead tissue until the tooth root is exposed.

Then, surgical techniques are applied, consisting in the appropriate production, retraction and suturing of the gingival flap.

In the case of gingival recession, the often used procedure is the lateral reposition of the flaps, performed to cover the defect.

Advanced periodontal disease / severe periodontitis

Loss of trailer exceeds 50% root length.

Massive tartar is present on both tooth crowns and exposed roots.

Due to such a significant loss of the ligamentous connection, the teeth become loose.

But even here, teeth can still be saved with the help of special periodontal surgery techniques.

Treatment of periodontal diseases

The treatment of periodontal diseases is multidirectional.

The first thing to do is to eliminate the cause, which is usually the removal of tartar.

Dental radiographs are necessary for the correct diagnosis and selection of the optimal treatment.

Treatment of periodontal disease may therefore include the following activities:

  • professional tooth cleaning by a veterinarian,
  • smoothing the roots,
  • gingival curettage,
  • periodontal flaps,
  • regenerative surgery,
  • gum excision or plastic surgery,
  • topical administration of antiseptic drugs or antibiotics.

Loss of teeth in dogs and cats

Tooth loosening and loss is very often a consequence of untreated periodontal diseases.

As inflammation develops, the ligamentous connection is lost, and the teeth begin to move and fall out.

In very advanced cases, only a strongly built-up stone keeps the teeth in the correct position.

Feline lymphocytic plasmocytic stomatitis

The disease is characterized by the presence of an inflammatory infiltrate of mononuclear cells (mainly activated plasmocytes) in the oral mucosa and gums.

Inflammation of inflammatory cells is the result of an abnormal immune response to oral antigens.

This chronic form of feline gingivitis and stomatitis can also be caused by antigens in plaque.

Its pathogenesis is most likely also influenced by other factors affecting the immune system, such as individual predispositions, environmental and food factors, and potential viral and bacterial infections.

Hypertrophic gingivitis

It is a disease that affects boxer and Springer Spaniels in particular, but is less common in cats.

This condition can lead to the formation of a pseudo-pocket that extends over the tooth crown.

The gums are enlarged, as if excessively bulging.

Histologically, this is known as gingival hyperplasia.

Food collects in deep pockets, which promotes the multiplication of bacteria.

Treatment consists of surgical removal of the pocket.

Hypertrophic gingivitis may occur as a result of secondary plaque-induced gingivitis.

Systemic consequences

As a result of periodontal diseases, an important barrier separating the oral cavity environment from the bloodstream is impaired.

Batteries and their toxins easily penetrate the blood, and thanks to the rich vascularization of periodontal tissues, this passage is really large-scale.

Microorganisms, their toxic metabolites and inflammatory cytokines massively enter the circulation and are spread with the blood throughout the body.

As a result, it may become infected or exacerbated by ongoing systemic diseases.

The presence of bacteria in the blood and their transfer to distant places may result in infection of other internal organs.

The clinical consequences are difficult to predict as it all depends on the infected organ and the animal's immune status.

Bacteremia can lead to:

  • bacterial endocarditis,
  • sepsis,
  • the formation of abscesses in various organs,
  • sinusitis,
  • infectious diseases of the lungs,
  • osteomyelitis,
  • skin ulcers,
  • anemia,
  • and many other clinical conditions.

As a result of the metabolic processes of microorganisms present in the oral cavity, various toxins are formed, the action of which can be very dangerous.

Some of the consequences of the toxic effects of these products are:

  • toxic shock syndrome,
  • stroke,
  • influence on the course of pregnancy,
  • chronic meningitis,
  • disorders of the granulocytic line.

The body defends itself against the action of bacteria by activating the rapid reaction forces.

However, immune responses - on the one hand beneficial because they are directed against microbes - can have a detrimental effect on the animal's body itself.

This abnormal immune response can lead to:

  • kidney disease (e.g. glomerulonephritis),
  • uveitis,
  • inflammation of the intestines,
  • chronic urticaria.
  • bacteremia,
  • damage to internal organs

Bacterial endocarditis

Underestimated gingivitis, periodontitis and dental diseases very often lead to a very serious disease, which, unfortunately, often ends in death.

Bacteria colonizing the oral cavity along with the blood enter the heart, where they find new places - they love to occupy the heart valves or endothelium.

Patients with previous cardiac problems and elderly animals are most at risk.

Microbes can stay on the surface of the heart valves for a very long time, gradually leading to their thickening and deformation.

In addition, through their action, they help other microorganisms adhere to the heart structures.

Consequently, it comes to valvular insufficiency, and as the process continues - heart failure.

And to think it all started in the mouth

Chronic renal failure

Prolonged bacterial effects on the kidneys may result in interstitial and pyelonephritis.

Immunological processes, which lead to changes in the glomeruli, may also play an important role in the pathogenesis.

Bacterial pneumonia

This is another disease that may be caused by periodontal and dental conditions.

Bacteria from the mouth and throat enter the lower respiratory tract and multiply there, resulting in inflammation of the lungs.


This is a very serious consequence of a significant amount of tartar and accompanying periodontal diseases.

We all know how dangerous is tooth extraction or even tooth cleaning in the presence of tartar or periodontitis.

These procedures release huge amounts of bacteria that can enter the bloodstream and cause bacteremia.

This is why antibiotic therapy is often introduced before surgery, and veterinarians never combine oral surgery with other operations (e.g. castration).

However, there is one more fact, less known and obvious.

Well, when you chew food, bacteria also enter the bloodstream.


The intensity of this process is about 1000 times higher than during tooth extraction!

As you can see, bacteremia is a very serious consequence of not only periodontal diseases, but also of tartar.

Dental care for dogs and cats

Dental care for dogs and cats

The consequences of neglecting oral hygiene can be very serious.

Unfortunately, we rarely combine such apparently distant disease states as e.g. tartar and heart failure.

At this point, it is imperative to re-emphasize the role that the pet's guardian (i.e. you) plays.

The resources required to meet this responsibility are meager compared to its weight.

Remember - a lot depends on you.

To properly care for your pet's oral health, you can follow the following plan:

  1. Regular visits to the veterinarian in order not only to check the general condition of the animal, but also to examine the oral health.
    A thorough dental examination can detect problems at an early stage.
    The fact is that many abnormalities, such as the presence of plaque or tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease, or even tooth fractures or abscesses, are detected during such periodic check-ups.
  2. Professional cleaning of dog's or cat's teeth in a veterinary office by qualified personnel (if necessary).
  3. Daily care for oral hygiene, carried out by the caregiver at home.

How to care for the oral cavity of a dog and a cat?

How to care for the oral cavity of a dog and a cat?

Caring for the healthy gums and teeth of your dog or cat should be the basis in everyday care for him.

This is an area where you - as a guardian - have a great deal of room to do.

This is important because any irregularities that appear in the mouth of your mentee can have huge consequences - both near and far.

In addition to the obvious consequences of neglecting the hygiene of the teeth and gums, such as unpleasant odor from the mouth, gingivitis and periodontitis, reluctance to eat, apathy, lack of appetite or soreness, there is also a huge risk of diseases of organs seemingly unrelated to the teeth.

Home oral hygiene can not only prevent problems, but also significantly improve the patient's condition in the case of periodontitis already present.

By brushing our teeth regularly, we slow down the progress of the disease, reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for professional dental procedures on the oral cavity.

The routine of good oral care in animals is based on a few major components, the regular use of which is essential for gum and dental health. These are:

  1. Regular tooth cleaning.
  2. Adequate diet.
  3. Dog chews, toys and chewable bones.
  4. Water additives and dietary supplements.

Teeth cleaning at home

Cleaning a dog's teeth at home

Cleaning the teeth is extremely important to take care of the oral hygiene of your dog or cat and prevent the formation of tartar and, consequently, the emergence of many unpleasant diseases associated with it.

Dental plaque that lasts for approx 3-5 days and is not cleaned, after this time it becomes saturated with minerals, hardens and transforms into tartar.

Such a stone not only irritates the gums, causing their inflammation, but also its surface is not smooth, but rough.

What does it mean?

That even more bacteria multiply faster and easier on such a surface!

The teeth at the back of the mouth are most at risk, as they are difficult to clean due to their location.

Bacteria quickly lead to gingivitis, and hence it is only a step to the appearance of clinical symptoms, visible in the form of swelling, redness and bleeding from the gums.

If the process is exacerbated and it is not treated further, periodontal disease begins, which leads to an even greater increase in gingivitis, pain and even tooth loss.

So, how to start your pet's teeth cleaning adventure?

Here are some tips.

  • To brush your teeth, use special tooth pastes or gels designed for a specific species of animal.
    Never use human toothpaste.
  • Also get a special toothbrush for animals.
    The bristles in animal brushes are much softer and denser than those used in humans.
    Small finger brushes are available for smaller dogs or cats.
    You can also use a piece of clean gauze.

How to clean your dog's teeth step by step?

How to clean your dog's teeth step by step?

Taming dog with tooth brushing you should start at a young age.

The first attempts should be to get the pooch accustomed to manipulation in the oral cavity rather than actual brushing.

First, the animal has to get acquainted with a new situation, initially very uncomfortable for him.

  1. Choose a time of day when your little one is relaxed.
    It may be a moment after a walk or play, when the running pet has already used up most of its energy for physical activity.
  2. In the first stage of getting used to brushing your teeth, you should convince the animal that you do not intend to hurt him, on the contrary - he will receive a reward.
    For this purpose, prepare yourself a lot of treats and something that he really likes - it can be broth, sauce or jelly from your favorite food.
    Dip your finger in such a delicacy and gently massage its gums.
    You can repeat this activity for a few consecutive days until the pooch is more willing to let you fumble in the mouth.
    Remember to always reward your pet for any cooperation and patience.
  3. The next step is to introduce tooth cleaning accessories.
    • Let your pet become familiar with the equipment you will be using.
      Let him smell and even lick the toothbrush, let him get used to it.
    • Let your pet try the toothpaste.
      Animal pastes generally have a certain flavor (e.g. meat, sweet, etc.), so there should be no problem persuading the student to try it.
      Put a little toothpaste on your finger and give your pet a taste.
      Remember to praise your pet for licking the toothpaste, and immediately offer him a reward in the form of his favorite treat.
      It may happen that your pet does not like the toothpaste you are offering.
      Then you will have to look for another one that he likes.
  4. Perhaps for the next few days you will be forced to tame your dog with toothpaste so that he finally feels comfortable with its presence on the teeth and gums.
    Apply a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and gently massage your gums and teeth.
    Once your pet tolerates the massage, you can start brushing your teeth properly with a toothbrush.
  5. Kneel down or sit next to your dog.
    Try not to surround him too much, any attempt to use force may cause a sense of danger in your ward and weaken the developed trust, and hence it is only a step to active resistance.
  6. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the brush.
    Place one hand on the back of the dog's muzzle, with your fingers gently lifting his lips.
  7. Brush your teeth in a circular motion, trying to reach even the most distant molars.
    The brush should be inclined at an angle of 45 ° in relation to the tooth surface (this will allow the bristles to penetrate the gingival groove).
    Initially, focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth, especially since this is where tartar most often accumulates.
    In time, also try to reach the medial surface.
  8. Finally, give your pet a reward, even if it didn't do too well.
    Remember, brushing your teeth should not be tiring and burdensome for your pet.
    If you spend the right amount of time and have a lot of patience, and the pet is properly rewarded for cooperation, chances are that the time spent brushing teeth will be really productive.
  9. You have to be patient.
    Initially, you may only be able to touch a few teeth, but over time, your pet will allow you to do more.
    Ultimately - when you gain experience and your pet has the patience to endure these procedures - you will be able to clean all your friend's teeth.
    Keep calm and composure at all times.
    If you are tense and upset, the animal will surely sense it and will not cooperate.

How to clean your cat's teeth step by step?

How to clean your cat's teeth step by step?

Regular cleaning the teeth of a cat at home, it will require practice, patience, consistency, regularity, resistance to pain, firmness and many, many other important skills.

From the cat - only acceptance.

No, it's not that complicated.

Of course, it will not be easy, but with a little commitment you will be able to get your ward used to this type of treatment.

It is best to start teaching the purr to some manipulation within the oral cavity from the kitten on.

As with any kind of learning good habits, the sooner the better.

But also in the case of adult and fully mentally formed cats, brushing their teeth every day can quickly make it a routine and at some point dissatisfied furries will stop actively resisting.

If there is no way to convince your kitten to do the daily routine, try doing it at least twice a week.

How to make your cat accept toothbrushing?

  1. Prepare a can of tuna in your own sauce :) put it in the fridge.
    If the feline prefers a different snack, choose it over tuna, in the end he rules over here ?
  2. Find a quiet, stable place where your cat is safe.
    You can put it on the table or keep it on your lap - whatever will be more comfortable for you.
  3. Take a cotton bud and dip the tip in the tuna sauce.
    It has no special cleaning properties, but most cats like the taste.
    Doing this is to convince your cat that what you are doing is not unpleasant at all.
  4. Raise the animal's head at an angle of about 45 degrees and tilt the lip with your fingers.
    You don't have to open his mouth, it's important that you make his teeth and gums visible.
  5. Place the swab soaked in the fluid on the gums, in the place where it directly touches the teeth.
    Use a gentle, scrubbing motion to wash the plaque off the gum surface.
    Work your way to the back of your mouth, occasionally dipping the stick in tuna sauce.
    You will probably not be able to "brush " all your teeth during one treatment, but repeating this regularly should ultimately result in washing the entire suit.
  6. When you notice that the purr already tolerates cleaning procedures with the use of a stick and tuna, introduce the appropriate equipment in the form of toothpastes and cat toothbrushes (optionally - in the event of a disagreement between you and the feline - stay with the cotton bud).
  7. In cats, most dental problems are manifested on the outer surfaces of the teeth.
    Therefore, focus your efforts on this part of the teeth.
    A rough cat's tongue usually cleans the medial surfaces of the teeth by itself.
  8. Using a circular motion, brush your teeth from front to back.
    The brush should be placed at an angle of 45 ° to the tooth surface.
    Try to reach the most distant - molars - teeth as they are the ones most at risk of being encased by a stone slab.
  9. Do not forget about the reward - talk to your pet calmly, praise for cooperation and give tasty morsels.
    Don't let your pet associate brushing your teeth with torture (felids tend to be hysterical ?).

Start caring for your cat's teeth during his youth.

If it is in no way convincing to the specialist equipment in the form of a toothbrush and toothpaste, try to get rid of the bacterial plaque regularly with a cotton bud and hydrogen peroxide.

He should handle such treatments much better.

There are special veterinary gels and fluids available on the market that contain chlorhexidine in a small concentration.

Their regular use will protect against excessive multiplication of bacteria, and will also alleviate possible irritation of the gums.

Oral care preparations and accessories for dogs and cats

Oral care preparations and accessories for dogs and cats

Toothbrushes, cleaners and dental wipes

A fairly wide selection of oral hygiene accessories can be confusing.

Indeed, it is often difficult to decide which toothbrush to buy for your pet.

It should be adapted to the size of the pet's mouth, have soft bristles and be comfortable to use.

It is often necessary to try several brushes to find the right one that suits both you and the person you care for.

However, the main feature that a toothbrush should have is the effective removal of plaque from the surface of the gums and teeth.

Classic toothbrush for dogs and cats

Toothbrush for dogs and cats

Classic toothbrushes with one universal head that cleans the front and back teeth.

Appropriate profiling makes it easier for the toothbrush to reach the farthest teeth.

Price approx. PLN 10.

Dog toothbrush and cat toothbrush with two heads

Toothbrushes with two heads, the larger of which is intended for cleaning the front teeth, and the smaller, more delicate one is designed to reach hard-to-reach molars.

The price of a set of four brushes is approx PLN 10.

Double-headed hand brushes

Double-headed manual brushes, simultaneously washing both surfaces of the teeth.

Price approx 20 zł.

Manual finger toothbrushes

Provides better brushing control as an extension of your finger.

There are also finger-tip brushes with rubber brushes for cleaning and massaging the gums.

Price approx. PLN 8-11.

Electric toothbrush for dogs and cats

Electric dog toothbrush

Their operation is exactly like that of human electric toothbrushes.

They come in various sizes (for smaller and larger maws) and are most often double-headed.

This means that when brushing, both surfaces of the teeth are cleaned simultaneously: the lingual and cheek surfaces.

The price of a double-head toothbrush is approx 80-110 PLN.

Ultrasonic toothbrush for dogs and cats

Ultrasonic toothbrush for a dog

One of the new products on the market is ultrasonic toothbrush for cleaning teeth.

Its mechanism of action is different than that of classic brushes (manual or electric) - here ultrasounds are responsible for cleaning the surface of the teeth, and not - as is the case when scrubbing teeth with conventional brushes - mechanical abrasion.

The advantage of this product is that it cleans your teeth for you.

You do not need to scrub, it is enough to put the tip of the brush to the tooth surface for 5-10 seconds and the ultrasound is to efficiently remove all deposits.

This product is - according to the manufacturer's assurances - completely harmless to the animal and much gentler on the enamel than classic toothbrushes.

So it can be a good choice for skittish, stressed and uncooperative animals, as well as for patients with painful periodontal diseases.

However, it has quite a serious disadvantage, which is - as you can easily guess - the price.

The original brush itself can cost around PLN 900, and the spare tips (2 pieces) - around PLN 70.

Of course, the use of this type of equipment requires a special toothpaste for the dog, the cost of which, fortunately, is not so high, because it amounts to about PLN 30.

Some dogs or cats, especially those with gum problems, may be more comfortable and less "traumatic" flexible sponges or dental wipes.

Sponges are disposable and definitely softer than toothbrushes.

The wipes are convenient to use and help to remove dirt from the surface of the teeth and gums, but they do not ensure the mechanical operation of the brush.

Dental wipes

They are invaluable in a situation where the animal does not tolerate the toothbrush or you want to quickly wipe your pet's teeth and gums (e.g. after meal).

Thanks to them, it is possible to gently clean the surface of the gums and teeth.

Examples of dental wipes include:

  • Maxi Guard Oral Cleansing Wipes (Vetfood).
    Wipes intended for dogs and cats, contain in the composition deionized water, zinc gluconate, taurine, methyl paraben, propyl paraben and dyes.
    The cloth is put on the index finger and gently rubs the gums and teeth on both sides.
    They have a natural taste and are quite well tolerated by animals.
    Price approx. PLN 66 (100 wipes).
  • PPP Aroma Care Dental Wipes - tooth cleaning pads for dogs.
    They contain apple extract, soda and fresh mint, thanks to which they cleanse and refresh the oral cavity.
    Price for 100 pcs. it's about PLN 43.

Dental cleaner for dogs and cats

Dental cleaner for a dog
  • Petosan Oral Cleaner - microfiber antibacterial toothbrush.
    Intended for use in dogs.
    Put it on your index finger and gently clean the surface of the teeth.
    Price approx PLN 28.
  • Micromed Tooth Care - dog toothbrush with silver ions.
    It is a microfiber cleaner with silver ions and antibacterial properties.
    The cleaner is put on the index finger and gently massages the gums, teeth and tongue of the dog.
    Price approx. PLN 27.

Toothpaste for dogs and cats

Toothpaste for a dog

It is extremely important to choose the right toothpaste for your client.

Animal toothpastes should be relatively gentle, but at the same time effectively washing off the plaque, digestible, without the addition of fluoride and without the need to rinse.

Never use toothpastes intended for humans - they are not suitable for animals and the substances contained in them can cause gastrointestinal problems.

There are many pastes on the market with various compositions that can be successfully used in pets.

They are not only safe, because they can be swallowed without harm to the body, but also tasty (various flavors are added to the toothpastes to reduce the reluctance to brushing).

Toothpastes intended for dogs and cats most often contain chlorhexidine, hexametaphosphates, zinc gluconate and / or enzymes.

Thanks to this, they show bactericidal (and thus limiting the formation of plaque) and cleaning properties.

Toothpaste for animals:

  • Tea toothpaste (Trixie) - contains tea tree oil and cinnamon flavor.
    Intended for use in dogs.
    Price approx. PLN 9.
  • Dr. Seidel DEO toothpaste with green parsley (Dermapharm).
    Meat-flavored paste for dogs, cats and ferrets.
    It does not require brushing.
    Refreshes breath and prevents the formation of tartar.
    Contains green parsley extract that masks the unpleasant odor from the mouth.
    Price approx. PLN 21.
  • Enzymatic toothpaste (Over Zoo) with roasted chicken flavor.
    Designed for dogs and cats, it does not require brushing.
    Enzymes contained in the paste (amylase, amyloglucosidase) prevent the build-up of tartar.
    Price approx. PLN 26.
  • Orozyme enzyme paste for dogs and cats (Cardon Pharmaceuticals N.V.).
    Thanks to its properties, it adheres to the surface of the gums and teeth, enabling the action of active substances contained in the preparation.
    It consists of: amylase, glucoamylase, glucose oxidase, potassium rhodium, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, superoxide dismutase, mild abrasives, surface active substances, collagen, malt, natural flavors and aromatics and their extracts.
    The toothpaste cleans the teeth, prevents plaque build-up by limiting the multiplication of bacteria.
    It can be applied directly to the mouth, for food or applied to the paws (in the case of cats), from where the animals will lick the product.
    It does not require brushing.
    Price approx. PLN 38.
  • Stoma gel - toothpaste for dogs and cats (Eurowet).
    Contains chlorhexidine that has antibacterial properties.
    It prevents the proliferation of undesirable bacterial flora, reduces the accumulation of tartar.
    Price approx. PLN 27.

Tooth gels and ointments

  • Tooth brush (Beaphar).
    Designed for use in dogs and cats, without the need for a brush.
    In addition to the liver flavor, it contains enzymes and calcium-binding compounds to fight harmful bacteria and prevent the build-up of tartar.
    The application is quite simple - the gel is applied from the back teeth to the front.
    The animal, by licking its teeth, spreads the gel over the entire surface of the dentition.
    Price approx. PLN 22.
  • Fresh Aid Gel (Scanvet) - intended for use in dogs and cats.
    It neutralizes the unpleasant odor from the mouth, reduces the formation of bacterial plaque, protects and regenerates the gums.
    It does not require brushing - a few drops of the preparation should be applied to the mucosa of the cheeks and cheek pockets.
    The composition contains zinc gluconate, vitamin C and folic acid (preventing inflammation and bleeding from the gums), green tea extract, peppermint oil, taurine.
    Price approx. PLN 40.
  • Dentisept (Ani Medica) - strongly adhesive gel, containing 0.2% chlorhexidine, tightly adheres to the gums, easy to use and quite well tolerated by animals.
    Chlorhexidine, contained in the preparation, has antiseptic properties, which makes it the substance of choice for the prevention of plaque development and for the supportive treatment of periodontal diseases.
    Price approx. PLN 36.
  • Stomodine (Geulincx) - gel with chlorhexidine for oral hygiene of dogs and cats.
    It also contains primrose oil.
    It prevents the formation of plaque and calculus, as well as the hypersensitivity of the gums.
    Price approx. PLN 79.

Oral sprays

Tooth brushing is unfortunately not always possible.

Although in most cases (with great consistency, patience and determination) we are able to convince the animal to cooperate, there are cases that our ward will not allow us to clean the teeth for anything in the world.

It is a pity, but we cannot pierce the wall with our head.

What we can then do is focus on using other methods to prevent plaque build-up.

One of them are various types of oral sprays.

Advantages of using oral hygiene sprays:

  • They are usually easy to use (as long as the animal is not fearful).
    Unfortunately, some dogs and cats are terrified of sprinklers, so before you apply such a preparation to your pet, first check from a distance how it will react to it.
  • They eliminate unpleasant odors from the mouth.
    This is the leading feature of all preparations of this type, and in the case of some of them - the only one.
    However, before you decide to buy a spray that neutralizes the unpleasant odor from the mouth, check whether it is its only effect.
    It would be good if it also had a bactericidal effect and soothes inflammation in the oral cavity.
    Eliminating the odor can be satisfactory, but remember that halitosis can be a symptom of more serious problems and masking it with fragrant cosmetics will not do any good.
  • Some sprays have a bactericidal effect, thus tackling the main cause of plaque.
    Such preparations are a valuable supplement to the daily care of teeth and gums, especially between each brushing.
  • Some of them remove plaque and gently soften the tartar (making it easier to remove).
    Thanks to the content of special substances, they can "etch" the stone already present on the teeth, making it easier to remove by other methods.
  • They clean the teeth.
  • They nourish the gums and soothe inflammation.
  • They increase the local immunity of the gums.

Remember, however, that these types of products only support regular tooth brushing and periodic tartar removal in a veterinary office.

Oral hygiene sprays for animals:

  • Oral hygiene spray (Beaphar) - intended for dogs and cats, with the aroma of liver.
    Refreshes breath, prevents tartar build-up.
    Price approx. PLN 27.
  • Dental spray (Supreme) - intended for use in dogs and cats.
    It is supposed to prevent the development of tartar and bacteria, and to refresh the breath.
    It can be applied directly to the oral cavity or to drinking water.
    According to the manufacturer's assurances, it is hypoallergenic.
    The composition includes water, glycerin, propylene glycol, menthol, chlorhexidine, sodium benzoate and citric acid.
    Price approx. PLN 28.
  • Deodent (Biowet) - liquid against unpleasant odors from the mouth, intended for dogs and cats.
    Contains fluoride (protects against caries and strengthens tooth enamel), citric acid (dissolves mineral deposits), fragrances and saccharin (as flavor enhancers).
    Price approx. PLN 19.
  • Dr Seidel Deo Spray with Chlorhexidine (Dermapharm).
    Intended for use in dogs, cats and rodents.
    It has antibacterial properties, prevents the build-up of plaque and freshens breath.
    The addition of sage extract soothes inflammation of the oral mucosa.
    Price approx. PLN 19
  • Animal Dent (Over Zoo) - contains citric acid to dissolve plaque, and natural oils from Japanese peppermint and eucalyptus neutralize unpleasant odors from the mouth.
    The addition of chlorhexidine is bactericidal.
    Price approx. PLN 14.
  • Micro-organic oral spray for dogs (Probiotics).
    It is a natural preparation, the composition of which is dominated by probiotic bacteria.
    Helps to reduce the growth of bacteria responsible for the unpleasant odor from the mouth, promotes the treatment of inflammation of the gums and throat mucosa.
    It prevents the formation of tartar.
    Applied directly to teeth, gums and tongue, or to clean teeth with a pad soaked in liquid.
    Optionally, it can be added to the food.
    Price approx. PLN 19.50.
    Composition of the preparation:

    • probiotic strains of microorganisms:
      • Bifidobacterium animalis,
      • B. bifidum,
      • B. longum,
      • Lactobacillus acidophilus,
      • NS. bulgaricus,
      • NS. casei,
      • NS. fermentum,
      • NS. plantarum,
      • NS. lactis,
    • molasses,
    • fermented herbs:
      • juniper berries,
      • fennel seeds,
      • cardamom,
      • ginger root,
      • purple coneflower flower,
      • marshmallow-herb,
      • elderberry fruit,
      • sage leaf,
      • lavender flower,
    • organic oils:
      • juniper,
      • thyme.


Rinsing the mouth with the addition of antibacterial agents is designed to reduce plaque formation.

The most commonly used "rinse" is chlorhexidine solution, which essentially reduces the multiplication of bacteria in the oral cavity.

The use of this type of preparations is helpful in a situation where the animal has irritation and / or bleeding of the gums, which make it difficult or even impossible to brush the teeth in a classic way.

Adequate diet

Adequate diet

Providing food dedicated to dogs or cats with a tendency to dental problems is a fairly convenient way, supporting the care for healthy gums and teeth of our pet.

These formulas help reduce plaque and tartar build-up thanks to a special texture that rubs off the surface of the teeth.

Generally speaking, in order for a diet to meet the requirements of nutritional prophylaxis, it should meet the following conditions:

Food should be low in sugar

Pay attention to the composition of the food you give your pet.

If it is a commercial pet food, you can read the ingredients on the packaging.

Unfortunately, in many products, grains, which are a source of carbohydrates, are the predominant nutrient.

Replace this type of food with another with a lower grain content.

It is also unacceptable to give the animal sweets in the form of cookies, candies, bars, etc.

The frequency of feeding should be relatively low

This requirement is easier to implement for dogs that eat a meal 1-2 times a day.

The matter becomes more complicated if we are dealing with a cat (which can approach the bowl even several times a day), and also in a situation where our pet is on a special diet with an increased amount of small meals.

Then we can save ourselves with dental delicacies, wipes or topical preparations (e.g. sprays, gels, etc.). administered to the animal approximately 30 minutes after the meal.

Eliminate soft and sticky foods from your diet

Avoid (or preferably exclude from your diet) table scraps, which are usually only a source of unnecessary calories anyway.

Remember - these types of foods are a great breeding ground for the growth of bacteria responsible for the development of plaque.

The final conclusion that comes to mind is to feed your dog or cat hard food.

However, here too there are a multitude of guidelines that should be followed by an optimal dental diet.

Food for animals with a tendency to build up tartar

Let's take a look at the features of dry food intended for animals with a tendency to build up tartar.

Proper hardness and texture of croquettes

In order for the food to perform a cleaning function, it should have a sufficiently flexible structure and, at the same time, sufficient hardness so that it does not crumble too early when chewing the croquettes.

In a word - a food ball should encourage the animal to chew, and at the same time be hard enough to gently rub the surface of the teeth.

The size of the croquettes

A lot of attention is paid to both the size of the croquettes and their shape.

A tooth that encounters such a ball while biting should plunge into it (at this point it is subjected to gentle abrasion), and the ball itself should not crumble easily.

It should be adjusted to the size of the teeth so that the cleaning process takes place over their entire surface.

The tooth should enter the croquet completely.

One study found that increasing the diameter of a kibble by 50% was associated with a 42% reduction in calculus in dogs.

And indeed - dry food has the ability to remove bacterial plaque, but remember that it is only possible on the tooth surface, which is in contact with hard food.

It cannot be done in the subgingival space or on teeth excluded from the chewing process.

Inhibitory effect on the colonization of the oral cavity by bacteria

It is obvious that the inside of our mentee's mouth is not and will never be a barren environment.

However, there are opportunities to limit the amount of microbes, especially those that contribute to plaque deposition.

These are methods that not only directly inhibit the multiplication of germs, but also prevent bacteria from sticking to each other and the surfaces of the gums and teeth.

Such additives include, but are not limited to:

  • Green tea, showing not only antibacterial properties, but also being a source of antioxidants.
  • Eucalyptus oil, showing antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and inhibiting the production of volatile fatty acids.
  • Lysozyme - it is a natural component of saliva with antibacterial properties.
    Actively affects microorganisms, damaging their cell walls, making it difficult for them to adhere to the tooth surface, and also starving bacteria (inhibits glucose uptake).
  • Lactoferrin - is a protein that binds iron, thus preventing its use by bacteria.
    Microbes cannot multiply, they have a problem with colonization of teeth (by making it difficult to adhere to their surface).
  • Lactoperoxidase - is another bacteriostatic enzyme.
  • Zinc - inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth, thus reducing the build-up of plaque and tartar.
  • Anti-gingipaine immunoglobulin Y (IgY-GP).
    Gingipains are enzymes produced by the anaerobic gram-negative bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis.
    They play a significant role in the development of periodontal diseases and the formation of pathological gingival pockets.
    The addition of IgY-GP blocks the activity of the bacterial enzyme, limiting its harmful effect on the structures of the periodontium.
  • Action to reduce the formation of tartar (i.e. saturation of the plaque with mineral salts).
    • Polyphosphates.
      As we know, tartar deposition occurs due to the saturation of the plaque with calcium salts, derived from saliva and food debris.
      The presence of polyphosphates leads to the formation of calcium phosphates, which bind calcium, preventing it from accumulating in the plaque.
    • Limited content calcium in karma.
      The high content of calcium ions in the food promotes the build-up of tartar.
      Food, which is to protect against its deposition, should therefore have a relatively low content of this element (but at a level sufficient to cover the body's demand for calcium).
  • Action to neutralize unpleasant odors from the mouth.
    It is possible thanks to the use of, among others:

    • Eucalyptus oil - a delicate fragrance refreshes the breath, and the antibacterial effect reduces the multiplication of microorganisms that cause plaque.
    • Zinc, which reduces halitosis through its action.
  • Limiting the formation of oxygen free radicals, the presence of which exacerbates the inflammation of the gums.
    This function is fulfilled by the addition of antioxidants to food, such as:

    • green tea.
    • Vitamin E, has anti-inflammatory properties and protects against oral cavity damage.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids - reduce the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

It should be noted that not every type of dry food has features that prevent the formation of plaque and tartar.

As you can see, the texture and size of the croquettes alone are not sufficient to ensure the proper tooth cleaning function.

It is made up of many more factors, both mechanically and chemically.

If e.g. we give the dog or cat ordinary dry food, but with a lot of carbohydrates, we cannot count on it to prevent the formation of plaque on the teeth.

It can be quite the opposite - such food, containing a significant amount of grains, often sticks to the teeth and thus causes problems with limescale.

Another factor that influences the plaque is the frequency of feeding and the type of treats the animal receives in addition to the staple food.

It is useless to follow a dental diet if you feed your dog or cat scraps from the table.

This type of food essentially accelerates the build-up of tartar.

Cats are characterized by a fairly high frequency of food intake throughout the day.

They eat relatively little, but often.

This makes preventing tartar build-up even more difficult, and brushing your teeth (even daily) may not be enough.

Dog chews

Dog chews

A gentle, long chew is one way to naturally wipe plaque off the surface of your teeth.

For this purpose, you can use:

Special delicacies intended to reach places that are difficult to reach by other methods

The market is currently flooded with treats intended for animals with gum and / or dental diseases.

However, it should be noted that their use is of marginal importance and will never solve the problem of tartar deposit.

Dog chews

A wide range of dental toys are available in pet stores and veterinary clinics, especially those with rough or uneven surfaces.

While playing, these types of dog chews not only remove plaque, but also massage the gums, which has a positive effect on oral health.

Some companies offer their clients the purchase of special teethers (mainly rope teethers), which can be soaked with an appropriate preparation used for oral hygiene and thus combine pleasant with useful.

The dog bites and plays, the teeth are cleaned both mechanically and chemically (thanks to the substances contained in the preparation).

Raw bones

They not only contribute to the natural cleaning of the teeth, but also stimulate the gums.

The bones must be raw, and the size of the dog must be appropriate to the size of the dog.

The cooking process makes bones more brittle, breaks in random places and splits more easily.

If you are concerned about giving your pet a raw bone, you can burn it beforehand to remove bacteria from its surface.

Remember that throughout the period of bone biting, the dog must be supervised due to the risk of choking or damaging the teeth (some dogs bite the bones very greedily, even aggressively - if you notice that there is any danger, refrain from giving this type of treats).

The bone should be large, preferably a beef or veal shank.

Large dogs can be fed beef jerky.


Dried or smoked pig ears and bovine rumen can also be a great snack while also abrasive to the surface of the teeth.


Under this name there is nothing else but the root tuber of the bush named woody briar.

After proper cleaning, smoothing and drying, it becomes (as provided by the manufacturer) an indestructible, natural teether for dogs.

It does not contain artificial additives, dyes, resin, dangerous splinters and allergens.

It ensures fresh breath and prevents the formation of tartar.

Price (depending on size) from 120 - 170 PLN.

A prerequisite for an animal to remove plaque by itself is chewing.

Unfortunately, not all of the methods mentioned to encourage chewing are attractive enough for dogs to do it long and methodically.

In addition, we must not overdo the amount of bones or other treats given to the dog - their excess can cause gastric problems.

Offering your pet a bone should not be more than 1-2 times a week.

Water additives

Liquid oral hygiene products have a similar effect to sprays, but can be an even more convenient alternative for them.

Examples of products include:

  • Mundwasser (Beaphar) mouthwash - preparation for dogs and cats, reduces the formation of bacterial plaque and inhibits the growth of microorganisms in the oral cavity.
    Price approx. PLN 21.
    It includes, among others:

    • protease (an enzyme that digests the structure of the bacterial plaque),
    • zinc chloride (inhibits the saturation of the bacterial plaque with calcium salts),
    • chlorhexidine (antibacterial, thus preventing plaque build-up),
    • Echinacea (strengthens the gum resistance),
    • menthol (provides fresh breath).
  • Vet Aquadent (Virbac) - prevents the formation of plaque and tartar, refreshes the breath.
    The composition includes glycerin and xylitol.
    Price approx. PLN 47.
  • Dental Fresh Stone and Sediment (Synergy Labs Animal Health) - intended for dogs and cats
    Price approx. PLN 33.
    It includes in its composition:

    • purified water,
    • stabilized chlorine dioxide,
    • sodium bicarbonate,
    • potassium sorbate,
    • sodium benzoate,
    • tetrasodium EDTA,
    • methyl paraben and others.

Currently, more and more attention is paid to the natural possibilities of preventing and perhaps even treating gingivitis and the formation of plaque or tartar.

The use of special water additives is designed to reduce the amount of bacteria in the animal's mouth.

There are various preparations available on the market, with greater or lesser effectiveness.

The mechanism of their action is usually associated with inhibiting the multiplication of bacteria.

One of the studies on the reduction of plaque development investigated the effectiveness of green tea and herbal antibacterial enzymes added to water.

In this study (conducted at several clinics in the UK and Canada), dogs were given a drinking solution called OCP (Oral Care Product).

It included in its composition:

  • antibacterial enzymes of plant origin,
  • Matcha organic green tea,
  • dextrose,
  • sodium bicarbonate,
  • ascorbic acid.

The dogs drank OCP water for 28 days, while the control dogs received clean water.

Since the beginning of the experiment, no other methods of limiting the development of plaque have been carried out, and the test animals were clinically healthy, without inflammation of the mouth and gums.

In 28. On the day of the day, there was a reduction in plaque formation in dogs drinking OCP compared to the control group.

The ingredients of the preparation inhibited the multiplication of bacteria found in the mouth of animals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, refreshing breath and whitening teeth (source: "Limiting the formation of dental plaque in dogs drinking a solution containing natural, antibacterial herbal enzymes and organic green Matcha tea ”Michael I. Lindinger).

Complementary preparations

Complementary preparations

In addition to the typical preparations used for oral hygiene, there is a whole range of complementary products that support the fight for healthy gums and teeth.

These can be, for example:

  • Fresh Breath Pills Chlorophyll Tablets (Beaphar).
    Their main ingredient is chlorophyll (a compound that gives plants a green color), which is supposed to eliminate bad breath.
    The tablets can be used in dogs and cats.
    Their price is approx. PLN 19.
  • Prodental Powder (Dolvit) - a powder added to food.
    Thanks to the addition of algae, Echinacea purpurae extract and zinc, it prevents the build-up of tartar, prevents unpleasant odor from the mouth and increases the local resistance of the gums.
    Price approx. PLN 24.
  • Tartar preparation Plaque Off (Vet Expert).
    It is a patent-protected product that helps to prevent plaque build-up and the formation of tartar.
    It contains a natural plant substance obtained from sea algae.
    It causes the properties of saliva to change during digestion, making tartar damage possible.
    Price approx. PLN 62.
  • Dental treats such as. Greenies a tooth-care treat, Purina Dentalife, Dental Bits (Beaphar) for cats or Pedigree Denta Stix, whose consistency, composition and size are to facilitate the natural cleaning of teeth while biting.

How to choose a preparation for oral hygiene of dogs and cats

How to choose a preparation for the oral hygiene of dogs and cats

Since there is a whole range of different oral hygiene products available on the market, you can get confused when trying to choose which one is best for your pet.

So before you reach for the first better preparation, consult your dilemmas with your veterinarian.

Also consider some of the following factors:

Ease of use of a given preparation for your student

This is one of the most important (but not the most important) features that should be taken into account when choosing oral hygiene products.

The most sophisticated composition of toothpaste is useless if the dog or cat does not allow us to come closer to each other with it at a distance of less than 1 meter.

So it is good to check in advance what is quite well tolerated by the pet.

Quite easy-to-use preparations include oral sprays, ointments, water additives.

Purpose of application of a given preparation

The purpose of individual oral hygiene products is manifold.

Some substances are used only to mask unpleasant odors from the mouth, while others are designed to deal with bacteria responsible for the formation of plaque.

Remember, however, that only preparations that inhibit halitosis do not have measurable benefits for the health of your dog's oral cavity in the long run.

Their long-term use may even delay the diagnosis of serious medical conditions, and blocking the unpleasant odor from the mouth is fighting the symptom, not the cause.

Intended use of a given preparation

Always check whether a given product is definitely dedicated to a specific species of animal. Remember never to use means intended for humans. Also, do not reach for a preparation that is intended for a dog, and you want to use it on a cat (unless your veterinarian gives the green light).


Synthetic or natural sugar substitutes are added to many formulas to enhance their attractiveness to dogs and cats.

We all know that aspartame it can cause serious disturbances in humans, unfortunately also in animals.

Choose products that are as natural as possible, with a minimum amount of artificial additives.


Ethyl alcohol is a fairly frequently used solvent and preservative, especially in the manufacture of oral sprays.

Try to reach for those preparations that do not contain any or a small percentage of it.

Also, remember to never exceed the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.

Can be used in animals suffering from allergies or other diseases

It is extremely important and here the consent of the veterinarian for the use of the preparation will be required.

Its active substances may cause allergic reactions or affect the animal's organism in a different way (especially in the case of coexisting chronic diseases, such as. diabetes, liver failure, hypothyroidism, etc.).


And finally, the most important feature that you should follow when buying a given preparation.

Before you reach for a paste, wipes or other product, consult your veterinarian who can help you choose the right product.

Also, look for information about the specificity among other pet owners.

The more information you get, the better the choice you can make.

Remember: all methods of preventing or treating diseases of the oral cavity, including periodontal diseases, are only effective if they are used regularly.

And it is best in various combinations and combinations.

It is useless to brush your dog's or cat's teeth from the so-called. the great bell when we remember.

And the expectation that giving your pet treats every 2-3 weeks (because it just happened) will prevent the formation of tartar is pure naivety.

You need to know that in some cases even the use of multiple methods of hygiene as dog chews, adding special substances to the water, toys will not prevent the formation of tartar.

Some animals are just strongly predisposed.

These include, among others short-skulled dogs (e.g. French bulldogs) and miniature breeds (chihuahua), in which - due to the specific position of the teeth and frequent bite problems - it is faster and easier to deposit tartar.

Even intensive chewing cannot prevent this because there is no proper contact between the teeth.

Certain animals also have a greater predisposition to the occurrence of calculus due to health or specific physiology reasons.

Sick dogs or cats (especially chronically ill) may show symptoms of periodontal diseases.

This may be due to less vigorous chewing compared to healthy dogs.

Other factors, such as saliva composition, oral pH and gum health, also influence the incidence of tartar.

So if your client - despite all your efforts - shows an increased frequency of tartar recurrence, the only reasonable solution will be to regularly clean the teeth in the veterinary clinic.

One of the most common mistakes made by pet keepers who are just starting their tooth brushing adventure is waiting for quick results.

Be warned - it won't be easy at first.

An animal that has never been exposed to such treatments before will certainly not be happy if you suddenly throw it with a brush and toothpaste.

For him - poking with a piece of weird tasting stick in - often - sore gums is not the peak of pleasure.

So you need to get your pet used to the treatments gradually.

Initially, let it be regular checking of the mouthpiece, then a gentle massage of the gums with a finger dipped in some delicacy, then using a piece of gauze wound around the finger, then gentle brushing maneuvers, and finally full brushing of teeth with the use of toothpaste.

How to prevent the reappearance of tartar?

How to prevent the reappearance of tartar?

There are several ways you can help prevent plaque build-up.

It is worth introducing at least a few of them, especially after a previous oral cavity sanitation procedure.

  1. You can actively control plaque build-up by:
    • Brush your teeth at least once, preferably twice a day.
      If this is really problematic and your pet's oral health is satisfactory, brushing (but thoroughly) 3 times a week should be sufficient to prevent tartar formation and possible periodontal disease.
      This is one of the most proven ways to reduce plaque build-up, which starts to cover your teeth as early as 24 hours after cleaning.
      Regular and systematic home care, consisting of daily tooth brushing is the most important aspect to prevent periodontal diseases in your ward.
      Even if I do not know exactly how the sanitation procedure was carried out, it will not replace taking care of oral hygiene at home.
      The gingival pockets are colonized by bacteria within 2 weeks (in the absence of brushing), and their depth will reach the initial state after 6 weeks.
      Now answer the question: it was worth the treatment of your pet if you are not going to maintain the effects for as long as possible?
    • Rinsing the mouth with an antibacterial solution (e.g. chlorhexidine solution), the use of preparations in the form of enzymatic pastes, gels or sprays.
  2. Passively Controlling Plaque Growth:
    • Diet.
      The use of a special veterinary diet with the appropriate hardness, texture and size of croquettes, intended for animals with dental problems, can be of great importance in preventing plaque build-up, but also in reducing gingivitis and periodontitis already present.
      Many of these foods mechanically and / or chemically remove plaque, preventing it from turning into calculus.
      Remember, however, that diet is a secondary element in the fight against limescale and will never replace proper tooth cleaning.
      Biting dry food in the form of fine, coarse croissants may not produce the desired effect for one simple reason:
      animals chew such food very rarely.
      They limit themselves to breaking it into small pieces that could be swallowed.
      Therefore, active dental hygiene methods are effective in reducing plaque on incisors and canines, while passive methods are better at dealing with plaque on premolars and molars.
      As can be seen, only the combination of all the methods described has the greatest value in limiting the formation of tartar and increases the chances of delaying or even eliminating the appearance of periodontitis in dogs and cats.
    • By introducing special delicacies into the diet, and appropriate toys for removing plaque into the daily routine, you can maintain the effects of active tooth cleaning in a very pleasant way for the pet, especially during the breaks between brushing.
      According to research, the use of one dental teether a day contributed to the reduction of plaque deposition o 17.3%, and the accumulation of the stone of Fr 45.8% (in small breed dogs).
      In cats, chewing chews daily also reduced not only plaque and calculus accumulation, but also the severity of gingivitis.
  3. Regular (every 6-12 months) cleaning of the teeth at the first symptoms of tartar at the veterinarian.

Reasons why plaque needs to be pulled off

Reasons why plaque needs to be pulled off

The prevention of tartar is extremely important for both dogs and cats.

It is impossible to overestimate the activities that the caregiver is able to introduce into the daily routine, which are not complicated or expensive at all.

You really have a huge influence on whether your pet develops dental problems such as tartar, gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Periodontal and dental diseases are among the most common diseases that affect dogs and cats.

It is estimated that it has been affected since 44-63% all dogs, and in individuals over 2 years of age. years of age, this problem may occur even in 80% dogs and 70% cats.

In most cases, it is caused by neglect of the animal's oral hygiene by its handler.

However, if you don't feel convinced, look at it from a different, more down-to-earth side.

The introduction of the rules listed in this study will allow you not only to properly care for your mentee, but also has other benefits:

  1. Saving money.
    If the tile turns to stone, it is no longer possible to remove it yourself at home.
    Teeth must be professionally cleaned in a veterinary office, using special equipment.
    The costs of such surgery are really diverse, because they largely depend on the advancement of the gum and tooth disease (removing the stone itself is definitely cheaper than the cost of tooth extraction or gum surgery).
    Usually the price is in the range from 150 - 300 PLN.
    Isn't it better to invest in a toothbrush and toothpaste and spend some time cleaning your friend's mouth on a daily basis??
  2. Getting rid of unpleasant odors in the mouth.
    Bacteria are present in plaque and cause bad breath.
    When you remove it regularly during hygienic procedures, you avoid the appearance of unpleasant odors.
  3. Preventing dental problems in animals can extend the survival time.


Consistent care for the oral hygiene of animals is still the Achilles' heel of many dog ​​and cat keepers.

You need a lot of systematicism, willpower and determination to not only get your client used to cleaning their teeth, but also to develop a habit of looking into the mouth of a dog or cat every day.

No wonder that despite the really good intentions and great commitment at the beginning, after some time many caregivers give up brushing their pets' teeth.

And the stone grows


Day after day, the plaque builds up on the teeth and at some point it is no longer a light deposit, but a stone plate that can only be handled by heavy dental artillery.

Companies producing products for animals are trying to outdo each other in offering newer, more modern and more effective preparations to prevent the build-up of tartar.

Some of these products do 90% of it, some do 95, and some do 99.9% of this.

But that's not how it works.

If a dog or cat has a tendency to tartar build up, only a combination of multiple preventive measures can be as effective.

Therefore, do not wait for brownish debris to emerge from the mouth of your dog or cat, accompanied by bad breath and numerous severe symptoms.

Invest in oral hygiene accessories, reserve a quarter of an hour and start the fight against plaque and tartar today.

Even if your mentee is not satisfied with it, you will be satisfied that you have a measurable impact on his health.

Sources used >>

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