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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 overall health. Imagine what our mouths would be like if we never brushed? Well, it's the same with our four-legged friends.

So besides those annual dental checks with the vet, checking your pet's gums and teeth regularly at home can have huge long-term benefits. Here’s why:

1. Periodontal disease is extremely common in dogs and cats

Your pet's saliva is more alkaline than yours, which means the bacteria in their mouth can turn into tartar easier, going on to 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

That infamous doggy breath could be another consequence of bacteria building up in your pet's mouth. Many times, this is actually a sign of periodontal disease. But the good news is, regular dental care can prevent this. Plus, it will 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. In severe cases, this can result in other health 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 tricky to know if inflammation in their mouth is causing them pain.

While there's no need to worry, we think it's important that pet parents have access to this information. Practicing regular dental care will not only avoid complications, but it can also extend your beloved pet's life.

Don't know where to start? Introduce pet toothpaste as a treat initially. Apply with your finger, so your pet gets used to having their mouth touched, and change to a pet toothbrush when they're ready. Then it's just a case of brushing your pet's teeth as often as you can (for some this may be daily, for some weekly).

Remember, you can also give your furry pal chew toys and dental treats regularly − two additional (and fun) ways of looking after your pet's pearly whites!