The gold standard of home care is tooth brushing. To be effective, however, it must be performed at least three times a week; daily brushing is ideal. See How do I brush my pet’s teeth? (above) or visit dogbeachdentistry.com for directions.

Another form of home care consists of rinsing with an antiseptic agent. CET® Oral Hygiene Rinse (Virbac) is an excellent antiseptic rinse for veterinary patients. The active agent (chlorhexidine) impregnates the teeth and gums, and its antibacterial effect lasts up to six hours. Additionally, Maxiguard® (Addison Biologics) has been shown to decrease gingivitis. It is also very palatable, making it an excellent choice for feline patients. Both of these are excellent ways to decrease gingivitis and periodontal disease in your pet.

It may be challenging for some pet owners to make the commitment to daily tooth brushing for their pets, or to teach their pets to tolerate handling of their mouths. When frequent brushing is not practical, feeding an effective dental food provides a convenient solution. There are numerous products touted as “dental” foods or treats. Pet owners must be careful, as these typically only clean the tip of the teeth, not the areas that are necessary for control of the periodontal disease. Of the dental foods available, only Hills® Prescription Diet® t/d® is clinically proven to reduce gingivitis, plaque, and calculus. A combination of brushing and feeding the right dental food is best for oral disease control.