As far as I know when I was growing up, my mom never took our pets to have their teeth cleaned. They were pets after all.
A few years ago I worked at a vet clinic, and while my gathering of data was not scientific, I'd say about half of the pets we saw had their teeth cleaned every year or so. I had no idea there were that many animals out there with pearly whites.
Assisting teeth cleanings was one of my least favorite tasks at the clinic. Each animal was put into a drug-induced haze and they'd sway back and forth while the high pitched water pick scraped away years of plaque from their teeth. It smelled bad and a lot of times they'd lose some of their teeth. It was gross and made me feel sad. I'd think I shouldn't be here. Not for this.
They say regular teeth cleanings can prolong your pet's life, so when my vet told me Juicy needed a cleaning, I began to fret. While I know she's just a cat, she is my cat, and if I plan on her being around til I'm 85, I should take her in, right? At the same time, it's a lot of money for something that seems both risky and silly. As far as I can tell, animals have been getting along just fine without dental appointments.
While I consider taking her in to have the cleaning (and quietly save up because my love for her will win out), I've purchased her some dental care treats in the meantime. While dental care treats sound like an oxymoron, I can only hope they're helping.
I do know one thing- she's crazy about them. Whenever she hears any resemblance of plasticy packaging being opened, she runs to the kitchen and sits up on a chair. I turn around to see her huge black pupils entranced on whatever I'm holding.
Although the treats are only two calories, I know her body isn't lacking in the food department. It's hard to deny her wild-eyed face, though, and the fact that she's begun to claw at me if I try to pass her without giving her any (out of control). If it's keeping her teeth from rotting out, however, I'm happy to oblige her.