You know your pet needs professional dental care, but you may wonder what a professional dental cleaning entails and how often your furry pal should have the procedure. Although the internet is full of conflicting information about canine and feline oral health care, our Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital team wants to set the story straight. Learn how to determine the frequency of your pet’s necessary professional dental cleanings and their importance to your furry pal’s health. 

How often does my pet need a professional dental cleaning?

Your pet’s veterinarian will evaluate your furry pal’s individual need for a professional dental cleaning. In general, however, most healthy pets need a comprehensive professional dental cleaning every one to two years. Your veterinarian will likely recommend your pet’s first professional dental cleaning when your furry pal is between 2 and 3 years of age—the age at which a majority of pets develop dental disease. However, if they have persistent deciduous teeth, bite malocclusions, enamel defects, stomatitis, or other periodontal problems, your pet should have oral care intervention at a much earlier age. Pets with poor oral health may need their first dental cleaning as young as 6 months of age, and every six months thereafter. Factors that affect the frequency at which your pet needs a professional dental cleaning include:

  • Age — Older pets typically have more severe dental disease because of their teeth’s lifetime of wear and tear, which is often also affected by other health issues.
  • Breed — Certain breeds are notorious for dental disease. These include Yorkies, dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and greyhounds, but many brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced) breeds, such as bulldogs, are also prone to periodontal problems.
  • Size — Smaller pets are more likely to have dental disease because of overcrowded teeth. They also have more delicate jawbones and shallower tooth roots, which can lead to an increased periodontal disease risk.
  • Lifestyle — Pets who chew aggressively often suffer enamel damage, and their teeth can crack or fracture if they bite hard chew toys.
  • Overall health — Some health conditions can cause gingivitis, stomatitis, or an increased periodontal disease susceptibility.
  • At-home dental care — Diligent at-home dental care that entails toothbrushing and the use of approved dental products can greatly prolong the time between your pet’s dental cleanings.

Benefits of regular professional dental cleanings for your pet

Waiting to schedule your pet’s professional dental cleaning until they display obvious dental disease signs is not a good idea. That would be similar to you only visiting your dentist when you have a severe toothache and forgoing all other oral health care. To learn how to help ensure your pet’s oral health, read our Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital team’s five reasons for scheduling your pet’s regular professional dental cleanings. 

#1: Regular veterinary professional dental cleanings help prevent periodontal disease

Although toothbrushing is an excellent way to reduce your pet’s plaque and tartar accumulation at home, veterinary professional dental cleanings attack oral bacteria that seep below the gumline. In addition, toothbrushing alone cannot remove rock-solid tartar from your pet’s teeth, but your veterinarian can remove this oral disease source when they perform your furry pal’s regular professional dental cleaning. By eradicating oral bacteria, plaque, and tartar through regular dental cleanings, you help ensure your pet’s mouth is healthy, and their teeth remain strong. 

#2: Regular professional dental cleanings save your pet’s teeth

Some pets develop such severe dental disease that their teeth become loose or fall out. Regular professional dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from below your pet’s gumline, strengthen the surrounding gingiva, and prevent loose teeth. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy also prevents infection pockets from forming near a tooth’s roots, which can create painful abscesses that lead to tooth extraction.

#3: Regular veterinary professional dental cleanings save you money

Oral surgery is costly. Extracting diseased teeth is a delicate procedure that can take a great deal 

of a veterinarian’s—and team members’—time and skill, and requires essential surgical supplies, equipment, and medications. These all add up to a substantial invoice. Professional prophylactic dental cleanings performed regularly prevent dental disease progression and are much less costly, making them easy to include in your budget.

#4: Regular professional dental cleanings save your pet unnecessary pain

Dental problems are exceedingly painful, although your stoic pet may give little indication. An exceptional amount of pain is necessary to bottom out a pet’s appetite, so you may suspect nothing is amiss until your furry pal’s dental disease is severe. By staying on top of your pet’s regular professional dental care, you can keep their mouth pain- and infection-free.

#5: Regular professional dental cleanings improve your pet’s overall health

Oral bacteria affect more than your pet’s teeth and gums. These pathogens can overwhelm your pet’s immune functioning, causing disease to spread through their bloodstream, seeding systemic infection. Oral bacteria can also attack your pet’s vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Regular professional dental cleanings minimize your pet’s oral bacteria load, making these pathogens much less likely to negatively affect your furry pal’s overall health.

Schedule your pet’s professional dental cleaning before they lose a tooth in their food bowl or stop eating completely. Book your pet’s professional prophylactic dental cleaning with our Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital team.