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How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth at Home?

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by Andrew Garcia
Apr 26, 2022
3 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Different Types of Dog Teeth
  • How Many Teeth do Dogs Have?
  • Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs
  • Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
  • How Often to Brush Your Dogs’ Teeth?
  • Conclusion
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is a great way to ensure his wellness. When eating, either from vegetables or meat, the food will accumulate inside and outside of your best buddy’s teeth. this will not only make his teeth yellow, but give him a bad breath, and even cause potential dental diseases. Dental diseases in dogs are also known as periodontal disease, which can result in serious consequences, so maintaining good dog dental care is very important.

Different Types of Dog Teeth

Just like little kids, puppies start out with temporary teeth that eventually fall out to make way for the adult teeth. There are four types of permanent teeth in an adult dog’s mouth and each of them has different functions.

Incisors

Incisors are the small teeth in the front of your pup’s mouth, which are used to tear meat from a bone and for self-grooming. Dogs have a total of 12 incisors, six on the top and six on the bottom. Normally, incisors present in most mammals, but the number varies from species to species.

Canines

As the longest teeth in the front of the mouth, the canine teeth are well-developed and used to tear and shred flesh. Dogs have 4 canines in their mouths: two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. Each canine tooth only has one root.

Premolars

Behind canines are the premolars. There are four premolar teeth on either side of the upper and lower jaws in a dog’s mouth. Puppies have three baby premolars on the top and bottom of both sides. These 16 teeth have sharp edges and are used for shearing.

Molas

Molars are the teeth in the back of a dog’s mouth. Dogs do not have baby molars. All molars will erupt by 4-7 months of age. There are two permanent molars on each side of the top jaw and three permanent molars on each side of the bottom jaw. Molars are used for grinding food into small pieces to make it easy to swallow and digest.

How Many Teeth do Dogs Have?

Generally speaking, an adult dog should have forty-two teeth: 20 on top of the jaw and 22 on the bottom. Puppies have only 28 temporary teeth. In fact, not all pups grow in forty-two teeth. For some unknown, the teeth might become entrapped by gum tissue or bones. You can count your pet’s teeth after all the puppy teeth fall out and adult teeth grow in.
When puppy teeth do not fall out on their own and stay in your dog’s mouth, they are called retained teeth. This is an issue that can lead to overcrowding, which can cause abnormal positioning of adult teeth and increased susceptibility to periodontal problems. Ask your vet for help when this situation happens.
a dog showing his white teeth

Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs

As a dog owner, you are supposed to learn how to notice the signs of dental disease and provide your pup with the proper dental care that he needs. Take a look at the following listed signs and if in doubt, take your dog to the vet so they can prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad smell breath
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
  • Discomfort or bleeding around the mouth
It is important to look after your pets’ teeth. Regularly checking for the above-mentioned signs and implementing a regular dental routine will prevent dental disease and improve the wellbeing of your furry companion. The first step is taking your pup to your vet and ask for some professional suggestions.

Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

In order to be successful at brushing your pet’s teeth, you must make it a positive experience for him. You are suggested to teach your pup to accept tooth brushing during puppyhood. If you have an adult dog, the training process maybe a little tougher, but it is still worth the efforts you made. Here are some tips for brushing your dog’s teeth.

Find the Right Time

It is better to brush your dog’s teeth when he is relaxed. You should make tooth brushing a daily routine. Plaque can build up without regular tooth brushing, which may put your dog at a high risk for gum disease, bad breath, and painful infections. Severe infection can lead to life-threatening health issues.

Preparations

Prepare dog toothbrush, dog toothpaste and select a good spot. A toothbrush made for dogs has softer bristles with specially angle. Finger brushes are only suitable for puppies. You should use longer handles for adult dogs. Dog toothpaste comes in dog-friendly flavors. Human toothpaste may hurt your dog’s stomach. Make sure your dog is comfortable when you brush his teeth. Try sitting in front of or to the side of him. If he seems upset, you should stop and try later.

Try the Toothbrush

Make sure you dog is used to you touching him mouth. As you approach the teeth with the brush, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle against the teeth will help clear away plaque. Brush in small circles, getting top and bottom on each side. It is normal that some light bleeding may occur in this process.

Praise and Reward

Keep in mind that good dental care doesn’t end with brushing. Once you are done with toothbrushing, reward your pet with their favorite treat. This will improve positive associations during brushing. Certain chews can help your dog fight plaque buildup. And don’t forget to schedule regular professional dental cleanings. Talk with your vet about how often is right for your dog.

How Often to Brush Your Dogs’ Teeth?

It is ideal to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice daily. For many dogs, once brushing becomes a part of their daily routine they will begin to expect and enjoy it. Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. Take your furry pal to your vet if you have any doubt about it.

Conclusion

Good dental health is a critical part of the overall wellness of your dog. Bad oral hygiene leads to the buildup of plaque and teeth causing periodontal disease. The periodontal disease can result in tooth decay, it can also have a fatal effect on your dog. The best way to combat periodontal disease is regularly brushing your dog’s teeth.
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