Oral hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for people. Regular dental cleanings and exams along with dental products, can help prevent your pet’s tooth loss or other health problems due to bacterial spread from the mouth to the other blood rich organs-liver, kidney, spleen or heart.
Dental care, just like in humans, starts with brushing your pet’s teeth regularly. Eating and normal bacteria that builds up in the mouth leaves plaque on your pet’s teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily with a special pet toothpaste will help prevent the plaque from hardening into calculus (tartar). Once the calculus has formed, a dental cleaning is the best way to remove the tartar. Starting to brushing your pet’s teeth at a very young age is key. OVVC recommends using a finger brush like the C.E.T. finger brush to get your pet used to you having your fingers in their mouth. This will not only get them prepared for brushing daily but also for the vet who needs to look in their mouths during regular visits.
When tartar buildup is already a concern, the veterinarian must step in to perform a dental cleaning. In veterinary medicine, dental tartar is graded on a scale from 0 to 4. OVVC recommends getting a dental cleaning at a grade 1-2/4.
Grades of Tartar
Grade 0/4 – No Tartar Accumulation
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Grade 1/4 – Mild Tartar Accumulation:
Thin line of tartar right at the base of the tooth. Dental cleaning is recommended within 4-6 months.
Grade 2/4 – Moderate Tartar Accumulation: Thin coating of tartar covering approximately half the tooth crown. Dental cleaning is recommended at earliest convenience.
Grade 3/4 – Heavy Tartar Accumulation:
A thick layer of tartar over the tooth crown that does not yet extend over the gingival margin (gums). There is an increased risk of periodontal disease at this stage. Dental cleaning is recommended at earliest convenience. Full mouth radiographs and additional dental work may be needed.
Grade 4/4 – Severe Tartar Accumulation:
A thick layer of tartar over the tooth crown and extending over the gingival margin (gums). Frequently, periodontal disease is present at this stage. Dental cleaning is recommended at earliest convenience. Full mouth radiographs and additional dental work is likely needed.
Our goal at OVVC is to use preventative care and regular dental cleanings to ensure your pet’s tartar doesn’t accumulate any further than a grade 2/4 tartar.