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Taking the time and effort to routinely clean your dog’s teeth will prevent tooth decay, plague buildup and gum disease.
Do nothing and poor dental hygiene will eventually result in serious infections and all sorts of other complications.
Preventative care is totally worth it! And the sooner the better because dental problems can develop as early as 2 or 3 years after birth.
While you don’t need to be an expert, caring for your dog’s teeth is a bit different from human dental maintenance.
Even the toothpaste is different! Keep reading…
You Can And Should Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
It’ll go a long way towards preventing periodontal disease from developing.
Thoroughly brush your dog’s teeth and gums 3 or 4 times per week with a specially designed animal-formulated toothpaste.
Ideally such a routine should start while your buddy is young!
Pro Tip: Quality dry kibble can also help to maintain teeth. Unlike wet dog food, dry kibble is abrasive and has the effect of keeping off food coatings.
A Few Things to Avoid
Do not allow your dog to chew on things that are harder than their teeth — including real bones.
Why is that?
Because they can break a tooth or splinter causing cuts inside the mouth.
And never use mouthwash.
Also, the foaming action in regular toothpaste doesn’t make sense for dogs. They obviously cannot spit, gargle or rinse properly.
Get the Right Supplies
Do yourself a favor and pick up a few quality canine toothbrushes.
Also get a toothpaste that’s been specifically designed for dogs.
FYI: Alternatively, you can make your own by mixing water and baking soda or potassium chloride. Just don’t use regular toothpaste!
Best Cleaning Technique
While lifting the lips to expose the teeth, apply a generous amount of toothpaste on a 45-degree angle all along the gum line.
Or wrap your finger around gauze or a cloth and rub these same spots in a circular way. Don’t be so rough as gums can bleed if too much pressure is applied.
You can actually clean most of the key areas without even opening your dog’s mouth.
Watch this video!
Focus on where the gums meet each tooth (AKA the Gingival Sulcus).
Reaching those areas is a smart preventative measure to take for good health, quality of life and your wallet!
Schedule Periodic Cleanings
Cleaning your dog’s teeth doesn’t eliminate the need for comprehensive cleanings to be performed by your vet.
A complete teeth cleaning usually requires the dog to be anesthetized.
Here’s how it works:
An instrument called a curette or an ultrasonic scaler scrapes build-up and tartar from the dog’s teeth at or near the gum line.
They will also polish the teeth and rinse out their mouth to remove loose plaque or diseased tissue found during the cleaning process.
The Bottom Line
Bad breath is quite common in dogs due to Gingivitis and gum disease.
Preventative care is essential. Be proactive!
Do routine cleaning to keep your dog smelling their best and to fortify dental health.
Invest in your pet’s well-being by making regular visits to your vet. Maintaining healthy teeth is a rewarding part of dog ownership.