Many people, perhaps confused about that business about a pet’s mouth being cleaner than a human’s— especially if that human is on a reality show—figure that a pet doesn’t need regular dental cleaning. But pet’s eat and, like us, their teeth hold onto food which can in turn cause bacteria and decay, which in turn can cause serious infections and medical problems.
“Infection and bacteria in the mouth can lead to problems with organs that have the highest blood flow. We’re talking critical organs such as the brain and heart,” said Ken Kurtz who runs Animal Dental Care, based out of Newport Beach.
Kurtz’s company does cleanings in about 300 local veterinarians offices. The key is that they do so without anesthesia which always poses a risk to a pet’s well-being. In fact, Kurtz started the business after a pet died while getting its teeth cleaned under anesthesia. Kurtz has developed a technique to hold a pet while cleaning its teeth, a technique he says that is comfortable for the pet and allows his technicians to do a thorough cleaning. But he also says he can teach the same hold to pet owners so they can practice daily dental cleanings with their pets.
“Well, ideally you should brush your pet’s teeth every day,” he said. “I mean, we tell people they should bring the pet to us every six months for a deep clean, but the pet shouldn’t have to wait six months just to get their teeth brushed.”
Kurtz says he prefers a soft bristle human tooth brush and recommends brushing your pet’s teeth from one to two minutes with a pet-safe toothpaste.