What is the advantage of using a dog toothbrush to clean my dog’s teeth?

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Dog toothbrushes are different from humans in that they are:

• Smaller
• Very soft
• Have a different shape so you can reach all the teeth
Pet toothbrushes are available through pet supply stores, your veterinarian or online.
Some types of dog toothbrushes include:
• Standard style, but with slightly different angles so you can easily reach the teeth.
• Finger toothbrushes that do not have a handle, but fit over your finger—so are possibly be easier for some people to use. They also help you give a nice massage to your pet’s gums.
• Dental sponges or pads, often more pliable. Dental sponges have a small sponge at the end of a handle, and are disposable. They are softer than brushes. Dental pads can help remove debris from the teeth and gums but do not provide the mechanical action that brushes do.
Other dental care items include:
Water-piks: A water-pik-type dental system has been developed for dogs. It works on the same principle as similar devices for people. Chlorhexidine is added to the water to kill the bacteria in the mouth, and the water stream removes the plaque. This may be especially useful for some pets with gum disease who bleed from the gums if a brush is used.
Food: Studies show that hard kibble is slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. There is also veterinary dentist-approved food on the market. Research studies have shown that pets eating this food have less plaque and calculus build-up. This food is available through your veterinarian.
NOTE: Try to make this as much of a pleasant experience for your dog as possible. When first starting out, put a dab of the toothpaste on the dog’s lips so she gets used to the flavor—and start small, brushing a few teeth at a time and then gradually increasing. If she starts to snarl or growl, stop and then resume at a later time.

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