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While brushing your pet's teeth may not be on your to-do list, it's one of the best things you can do for their health. Imagine what our mouths would be like if we never brushed? It's similar when it comes to our four-legged friends.

So besides those yearly dental checks with the vet, checking your pet's gums and teeth regularly at home is as necessary. Here’s why:

1. Periodontal disease is extremely common in dogs and cats

This is because their saliva is more alkaline than ours, which means the bacteria in their mouth can easily turn into tartar – and become plaque. Periodontal disease (or gum disease) typically shows no symptoms at the start, but can escalate into more serious health problems.

2. Regular oral hygiene prevents bad breath

Bad breath is another consequence of bacteria building up in your pet's mouth. Most times, this is actually a sign of periodontal disease. So again, good oral care can prevent this, but also reduce the number of vet visits for dental cleaning.

3. Caring for your pet's mouth promotes overall health

If left untreated, bacteria in the mouth can travel to the bloodstream and interfere with your pet's immune system's activity. This can result in other issues like heart disease and diabetes.

4. It's hard to tell if your pet is in pain

Cats and dogs don't express discomfort the way we do, so it can be difficult to know if inflammation in their mouth is making them miserable.

While there's no need to worry, pet parents should remember to make oral care part of their furry friend's health routine. It's as easy as brushing your pet's teeth as often as you can (for some this may be daily, for some weekly), offering toys and treats for daily chewing and feeding a good-quality diet.