How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?

A lot of dog owners underestimate the importance of keeping their dog’s oral and dental health in tip-top shape, that is until it’s too late.  Our dogs aren’t able to brush their teeth and floss twice a day like we are, so it’s up to us to take on that responsibility for them.  A dog developing dental issues can lead to all kinds of problems, like infections, tooth decay and cavities that can make eating painful, and lead to the loss of teeth.  Not only that, but poor dental and oral health has been linked to complications like heart disease, dementia, and autoimmune conditions, which is why you need to take this aspect of your dog’s wellbeing more seriously if you aren’t already.

Dental Cleanings Provided by Your Veterinarian

Even if you’re providing regular at-home dental care, nothing takes the place of a real cleaning performed at your vet’s office.  To really clean each tooth and remove plaque, only a licensed professional can get the job done.  If you were to attempt to clean their teeth that thoroughly, your dog would never be able to sit still long enough.  That’s why veterinarians administer anesthesia to canines prior to a dental cleaning procedure, which give them free reign to really get in there, including areas under the gums that are otherwise inaccessible.  Besides that, a vet will make X-rays that can give you an idea of problems that you wouldn’t be able to know existed.

Now, the general rule of thumb is that a dog needs to have this type of extensive cleaning performed yearly.  But, some factors may change that.

  • Breed: Some breeds are more prone to dental and oral health problems than others, including pugs and bulldogs who have mouth shapes that allow bacteria to thrive more easily.
  • Age: As dogs get older, their dental health is more prone to problems, and may require more frequent cleanings and checkups.
  • Dental History: If your dog has had dental problems in the past, or persistent issues, they likely need more extensive care.
  • Genetics: Many people are surprised to learn that chronic dental/oral health problems can be inherited, such as periodontal disease.  
  • Diet: If your dog is fed a poor diet high in sugar or other ingredients that lead to ailing dental health, they will require more care.
  • Care at Home: How much you take care of your dog’s teeth at home can influence the level of care required from a vet.
  • Ultimately, your veterinarian can give you a clearer idea of how often you should be maintaining their dental health based on the unique nature of your dog.

    At-Home Cleaning 

    A once-a-year or so dental cleaning is basically essential if you want to keep your dog’s teeth and mouth healthy for a long time to come.  But, many pet owners don’t realize that it’s important to maintain some kind of dental cleaning protocol in between those visits as well.  Fortunately, there are all kinds of products that make the process easy.  While you’ll never be able to clean your dogs’ teeth as extensively as a veterinarian, you can help support a healthy oral environment through some of these methods below.

    Method #1: Dental Treats

    You can find all kinds of dental treats for dogs, which are flavored to appeal to their taste buds, while containing ingredients that fight plaque and other forms of bacteria that can cause a host of dental diseases.  These treats may contain enzymes that help plaque dissolve, or antibacterial agents that kill germs in the mouth that lead to issues like tooth decay.

    Method #2: Teeth Cleaning

    You can also find toothbrushes and tooth pads made for dogs, allowing you to clean their teeth manually.  These can be used on their own or with an enzymatic toothpaste made for dogs, which effectively removes stains as well as plaque that builds up on the teeth.  Please keep in mind that you should never use a human toothpaste on a dog – toothpastes that we use contain ingredients that can be deadly to canines.

    Method #3: Supplements/Food Additives

    There are also supplements and food additives that like dental treats, contain ingredients that help dissolve plaque and kill bacteria that leads to a host of dental issues.  These supplements or food additives can be administered daily, and typically come in tincture form, liquid form or powder form.  Of course, read through the ingredients carefully to ensure that all of those ingredients are safe for your dog.

    Method #4: Incorporate CBD into Their Routine

    While cannabidiol (CBD) alone will not prevent all forms of dental disease, it can help work toward a healthy set of teeth.  CBD is rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties while working with cannabinoid receptors in the body that regulate immune function, to generally support homeostasis, leading to a healthier dental state. 

    Chill Paws CBD Dog Treats and Dog CBD Oils can be administered orally on a daily basis.

    Bottom Line: Your Dog’s Teeth are Consequential to Their Overall Health 

    One thing that you never want to neglect is your dog’s teeth.  Ignoring their annual cleanings and daily needs can lead to severe consequences down the road that will be costly for you and devastating for them.  Fortunately, maintaining good dental health practices is easy, with lots of commercial products widely available, and vets all over who can provide effective cleanings.  Talk to your veterinarian to have a better idea of the needs of your dog’s teeth, which can vary from canine to canine, to give them the best care you possibly can.

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