The goal of home care is to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs secondary to plaque formation which is a combination of food, saliva, and bacteria that accumulate on the teeth. If plaque is not removed from the teeth, it will result in mineralization of the plaque and calculus formation. Calculus is much more difficult to remove and often times require a professional dental cleaning. Home care is a necessity to removing plaque before it becomes calculus and would ideally be implemented daily.
Home care options include brushing teeth, water additives, oral gels, edible treats, and prescription diets. Tooth brushing is the best option in order to remove plaque. However, many dogs and cats do not tolerate it. For better success, it is best to start brushing teeth as a puppy or kitten to get them used to it. For pets that don’t tolerate tooth brushing, water additives will help kill the bacteria associated with plaque formation. Treats and prescription diets act by mechanically removing plaque as the pets chew on them. For a full list of products proven to reduce plaque formation, please check out www.vohc.org.