Good home care:

-Head Handling: Start by getting your pet used to head handling and opening up the lips to touch the teeth.  Especially in cats you must be very slow and gradual so the pet learns not to fear this and for you to get competent at it.

Brushing:  for committed owners you could brush the teeth once or twice daily by inserting a pet tooth brush with pet toothpaste under the upper lips and gently stroking the teeth back and forth and in a circular fashion – the links below show a video on how to do this. You need to brush often and thoroughly though to prevent plaque turning into tartar. Once it is tartar you need to scrape as above.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Chew Toys: For dogs you can’t really give them too much to chew on if it is chewable. Avoid hard chew toys and bones because they can, and do, often break or wear the teeth. Slab fractures of the upper fourth premolar is a common occurrence. Unfortunately small dogs are often not much interested in chew toys. Try to lure them into chewing by cutting them up into small strips and possibly putting more flavors in them; soaking them in soups(?), drilling holes in them and packing them with cheese(?). As a general rule ‘dogs that chew don’t have much dental problems’ unless they break a tooth.

Dental diets are available. There are several veterinarian lines with different actions and formulations, and there are now some dental targeted diets in pet food stores. Generally you want a larger kibble with a non-brittle texture so that animals are forced to chew the food and the tooth is rubbed by the kibble before it breaks open. The rubbing action helps prevent gingivitis too in some diets. Some diets aid in the prevention of tartar by preventing calcium from mineralizing plaque into tartar.

Dental Products: There are different dental products available to help with gingivitis, exposed nerves, halitosis and plaque development. Some are oral sprays, pastes and some you can add to drinking water..