When a dog develops plaque on its teeth, calcium deposits in its saliva can combine with the plaque and form tartar. Tartar can build up and cause tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and other medical issues relating to gum disease. Hardened tartar that has built up over time must be removed by a veterinarian who uses specialized tools and anesthesia to put the dog under while the work is performed. To prevent subjecting your dog to this stress, you can apply a few techniques at home to clean and remove tartar buildup on your dog's teeth without the use of a vet.
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Prevent plaque buildup on your dog's teeth and remove light tartar stains by brushing your dog's teeth on a regular basis. Ideally, a dog's teeth should be brushed at least once daily to remove plaque as well as any food residue that may lead to plaque buildup over time. Using a high-powered rotating toothbrush will help to remove plaque and tartar over the surface of every tooth. Be sure to brush along the gum line of each tooth as this is where plaque and tartar typically collect, and use a toothpaste made especially for dogs.
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Rub the teeth with a solution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for stubborn tartar stains. You can also use baking soda, which will oxygenate and help break up tartar stains. The stains can then be brushed away with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
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Polish your dog's teeth using a tooth-polishing device, which can be found in some animal supply stores or drug stores. Use dog toothpaste as a scrubbing agent, and apply the paste to the tooth polisher before polishing the surface of each tooth. Pay particular attention to the tooth surface near the gum line.
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Invest in a cleaning system for a dog's teeth that has been designed to help remove plaque. Systems like PlaqueOff, Suzie's Tartar Liquid and PetzLife Oral Care Gel provide effective tartar removal for many pet owners. Follow the directions provided with the system for application and cleaning technique to achieve the best results.
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Give your dog hard foods, treats and toys that will help to remove dental plaque and tartar as the dog chews. Soft foods tend to leave behind residue and debris, while other foods and toys are specially designed to help clean a dog's teeth. In addition to regular brushing and tartar maintenance, feeding your dog the right foods and giving it the right kinds of food will help keep tartar at bay.