How to Take Care of Your Dogs Teeth and Gums

When trying to keep your dog clean and healthy, a quick shower and bath does not always work. Having clean teeth and gums are very important of the overall health of your dog and needs to be done more often than you might think. Here are some tips on the most common dental problems of dogs and ways in treating them.

What is Periodontitis and Gingivitis?

The most common dental problem for canines is periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease. The disease is caused by various factors:

  • Plaque
  • Food debris
  • Cell mucus
  • Mixture of bacteria

This results to a film characterized by milky-white on the dog’s teeth as well as the gums. When this film gets combined with saliva, the plaque it causes becomes tartar, and very hard to remove.

Gingivitis, also known as gum disease, happens when gum tissue suffers from an inflammation. Without treatment, it can lead to periodontitis, teeth loosening, bone less, and ultimately, loss of teeth.

Tooth Fractures

Tooth fractures occur when dogs chew hard substances, such as hard rocks and cow hooves.

Getting teeth and gums checked out at the vet

The fractures result to infection inside the broken tooth, which is known as the endodontic disease.

How to Prevent Dental Problems

Your dog can fight off these dental problems by removing the plaque before it actually develops as tartar. The most effective way is by brushing the teeth of your dog in a mechanical fashion. The brushing would reduce much of the bacteria presence in the mouth, not to mention making your dog’s breath smell sweeter. Make it a habit of brushing your teeth on a daily basis.

How to Properly Brush Your Dogs Teeth

The level of importance on when to start brushing your dog’s teeth is crucial, if you start this process at an early age there is a better chance, they will most likely connect it to being a positive experience. Start this treatment when they are relaxed and seem to be happy. Consider the following steps:

  • To teach them to remain calm with your hand being by their mouth, start by gently stroking your dog’s cheek the first two or so days before beginning the treatment.
  • The next important step is to introduce the proper toothpaste, there are toothpaste products made especially for dogs. Brush your pet’s teeth using dog toothpaste. Human toothpaste is specifically designed for humans to spit the paste washings out. Dogs cannot do that, so pick a dog toothpaste that is safe enough for dogs to swallow.
  • Take the toothpaste and follow the gum line inside of their mouth, allow your dog time to get used to this as well before introducing a toothbrush
  • Using a toothbrush in its teeth would take some time for the dog to get used to. Let your dog be acquainted and get used to this is by putting some garlic salt, mix the salt with water, and dip the solution in an old toothbrush. Hold the old brush and let your pet taste and chew it. Your dog may start to realize that chewing a toothbrush is and tastes good. Make it a habit a few times, until it feels comfortable brushing with it.
  • Aside from toothpaste and brushing your dog’s teeth you may also want to consider some products in the market that deal very well in helping to kill the bacteria in your dog’s mouth and could actually help heal damaged gum tissues such as dog mouthwash. Do not forget to ask your veterinarian on the best products in the market.

What Do I Do if I Can’t Get My Dog to Let Me Use a Toothbrush?

As mentioned earlier you could always stick with the finger toothbrush method instead of a toothbrush.

Using the finger brush method to brush your dogs teeth and gums

A finger brush is a good alternative, although nothing could replace the good ole’ toothbrush. The finger brush just fits onto one’s fingertip and can let you brush the dog’s teeth without the dog knowing it. Well, at least almost. The disadvantage of getting a finger brush to clean your dog’s teeth is that its bristles are quite large for the brush to go under the gumline’s margin as effectively compared with regular toothbrush.

Professional Dog Teeth Cleaning

If you don’t want to do the cleaning by yourself, you could take your dog to a veterinarian and have its teeth professionally cleaned. A good veterinarian will most likely take additional measures in ensuring your dog’s clean teeth by anesthetizing your dog, scraping the buildup of plaque from all over the gumline areas, and polishing the teeth for a sparkling finish.

How to Practice at Home Safety

Try to make it a regular habit of checking the teeth of your dog for any cracked or broken teeth. If you see some problematic teeth, check promptly with the veterinarian.

Of course, cleaning your dog’s teeth does not mean you should disregard other areas of concern. Tough substances, such as bones, rocks, hard nylon, or cow hooves should be removed from areas where your dog could see. Buy your dog chewing toys that are safer like rubber-made toys. You could also provide bones that are soft enough for your dog to chew.

Dental problems do not only happen to humans. Dogs also have dental issues as well. It is up to the owners on how to help their pet dogs overcome their dental problems.


  1. Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean with Five Tips, American Kennel Club.
  2. Dog Dental Care, BlueCross.
  3. How Should I Take Care of My Car or Dog’s Teeth? RSPCA.