Dental Quiz Answers

During the month of February our technologist Meghan put together a Dental Quiz for our clients.  They could answer and turn in their quiz for a chance to win a dental care gift pack.  It wasn’t about getting the answers right or wrong, it was about getting our clients to actively think about dental care in their pets.  Often this is an area of animal health care that is over looked and yet can greatly affect the health, length, and quality of your pet’s life. pup teeth

Below are the questions with the answers and a brief blurb on each.

  1. What percentage of pets over the age of 3 have dental disease? 


By age 3 your pet has gone 1,095 days without brushing his teeth and even if your pet does chew his food and even if it is a dental specific diet it isn’t going to provide the same exact action as brushing with clean water and toothpaste (think of you eating a carrot).

  1. What is an early sign of dental disease that owners may overlook? 

Bad Breath

Bad breath is a sign that the mouth has a build up of bacteria in it.

       3. True or False: Dental disease causes pain.  


As bacteria builds up in the mouth and eventually plaque then tartar forms on the teeth and gums bleed and separate the decay moves under the gums.  All of this leads to the decay of teeth making the mouth very sore.  Until a dental surgery is performed and the teeth can be cleaned above and below the gums as well as removing any unhealthy teeth the pain will not go away.

  1. dental-brush-paste-kitWhich is the “gold standard” of home dental care? 

Brush daily

Although feeding a dental diet, offering dental chews and using an oral rinse are all helpful in dental care, the absolute best thing you can do for your pets oral health is to brush daily!

  1. Which can be brushed off? 


Plaque is the first build up of debris on the teeth.  Tartar is the mineralization of that debris and cannot be removed with regular brushing.

       6. How long does it take plaque to mineralize to tartar?

24 – 36 hrs   

This is the reason why brushing daily is the key to keeping teeth healthy.

        7. True or False: Hand scaling teeth on an awake patient is best.


Scaling teeth creates tiny microscopic grooves in the surface of the teeth.  Without polishing after scaling the grooves remain, leaving the perfect place for food and debris to continue to build up and eat away at the teeth.  Pets need to be under a general anesthetic so that scaling and cleaning of all the teeth can be done thoroughly and completely, then teeth can be polished to remove the tiny grooves created by scaling.Dent

        8. How often should a dental cleaning be performed on pets?    

Depends on the individual animal.

Some pets require regular annual cleaning, while others can go years before needing a cleaning.  Genetics plays a very large role in the health of teeth and even when the owner does everything right including brushing daily, a dental may need to be performed on a regular basis.

           9. Order the following stages of dental disease from best (0) to worst (4)DDD_dog_gum_disease

__0__ Clean, healthy teeth

__1__ Plaque accumulation

__2__ Gum inflammation (gingivitis)

__3__ Tartar build-up

__4__ Gum separation (periodontitis)

Plaque accumulation and gingivitis can occur almost simaltaneously, so if you couldn’t decide which of these two went first you are essentially correct either way.

         10. True or False: Dental disease can lead to heart and kidney disease.


The bacteria in the mouth that causes dental disease spreads throughout the body leading over time to heart and kidney disease.

The Results Are In…

So how did you do?  Did you learn something new?  We sure hope so!

Just like dental care is important for you, so is it for your pet.  The best you can do is work together with your veterinary team to determine what you can do to keep your pet’s oral health at its best, ultimately leading to a longer, healthier, happier life!

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Want more information on dental care and what is involved in a dental cleaning for your pet?  See the dental section of our website!



February is…

…Freezing cold in Saskatchewan,  seriously… freezing cold.

February is also National Pet Dental Month.  The month is dedicated to helping pet owners learn about the importance of dental care and ways to do that.  We have done a couple previous posts on various aspects of dental health and care.  This post is about how to choose the right tools to care for your pet’s teeth.  We have also included our own video on how to get your pet comfortable with having their teeth brushed, to further aid you.


There are many items on the market that claim to improve your pet’s dental health – with one simple application.  The unfortunate part of these items is that many are about masking the problem that causes bad breath and dental decay (see our previous post on The Importance of Dental Care) .  The best option is always a preventative one; however if your pet’s teeth are already in a poor state, it is wise to contact your veterinarian to inquire about a dental treatment to get your pet’s teeth in the best possible condition, then do home care to maintain their oral health.

When it comes to choosing the tools you need for home dental care there are a few options in brush styles, toothpaste flavours and oral rinses:

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

(information provided by via Idexx)

There are many variations of toothbrushes available, with the most popular being small brushes that fit comfortably in your hand, and finger toothbrushes designed to fit over the tip of your finger.  The type of toothbrush you choose depends on the size of your pet and your own dexterity.  Many pet owners find it easier to use a finger toothbrush, especially when first beginning to brush their pet’s teeth.


Choosing Toothpaste


 It is important that you use a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for your pet, available at your veterinary clinic.   Human toothpastes can cause

stomach upset, so avoid using your own toothpaste.  If you are out of pet toothpaste, you are better off to brush with nothing.  Pet toothpaste comes in several “flavours” – vanilla mint, poultry, malt, and seafood – although many pets like the poultry and many owners like the vanilla mint, ultimately it does not matter which “flavour” you choose.

Using an Oral Rinse


There are a couple types of oral rinses available at your veterinary clinic.  Oral rinses are a great addition to brushing and can be done once daily.  Oral rinses help to eliminate the bacteria in your pet’s mouth which also aids in fresh breath.  For some pets who really dislike having their teeth brushed you can consider using an oral rinse instead.  We strongly recommend the Maxi/Guard Oral Cleansing Gel.  It is just applied to the outside of the upper molars and then a quick cleansing action across the rest of the teeth will distribute the gel to the rest of the mouth.  You can use a toothbrush, swab or your finger to apply it.

Since it is so freezing cold out and no one wants to go out in this weather, this is a great time to teach your pet to accept getting his or her teeth brushed.  Happy Brushing!

Here is our video showing you 4 easy steps to brushing your pet’s teeth:

Thank you to Hill’s for the “Brushing in 4 easy steps” guide.