Q: Can brushing teeth prevent heart disease in little dogs?
A: While not all heart diseases are preventable, you can certainly help those that will develop because of bad teeth. If your pet will accept the brush and you have the fortitude to brush every 2 to 3 days without fail, then you’ll give them fighting chance to avoid this. Bacterial burden in your pets mouth, when teeth become loose and really smelly, will cause seeding of bacteria to the heart valves and other organs. Over time, as the body fights the infection, the inflammation will warp the heart valves and cause turbulent blood flow. This is heard as a heart murmur or abnormal ‘swishing’ sound. The heart will have to work harder and will enlarge to compensate for this. When it can no longer stretch it fails and coughing and decrease in exercise is seen.
Tooth health needs to be strted as a puppy and kitten and throughout your pets life. Anything that can keep the bacteria down and the gums healthy will go a long way. There are dental pet foods, dental biscuits, antiseptics, gels and more. But nothing does the job like a good brushing. If your pets teeth have tarter staining and buildup then a cleaning is in order before it gets to gum disease. If your pet won’t let you lift the lips or you just want to know, find out from a professional who knows about pet teeth. That’s a vet.