Plaque and tartar create a buildup on a dog's teeth of green, gray or yellow matter. Plaque is the result of the presence of food particles and bacteria that reside on the teeth. Tartar occurs when minerals in water and saliva mix with the plaque and calcify on the teeth. Plaque is easier to remove than tartar. A significant amount of plaque and tartar buildup on a dog's teeth can cause painful and inflamed gums, disease and bad breath. Keep your dog's teeth white and bright with regular cleaning to avoid discoloration and pain.
Examine your dog's teeth. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian if the gums bleed or you notice swelling or oozing. Plaque can be removed with home care, but a large buildup of tartar may require specialized treatment from the vet.
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Play with your dog. If you have never brushed your dog's teeth before, get him used to the idea by playing with a toothbrush around his mouth. Let him lick the toothpaste to get an idea of taste and texture. Get the dog comfortable by using your hands to move his lips aside to expose the teeth.
Place the dog toothpaste on the toothbrush. Place one arm around your dog's neck to secure him and hold the toothbrush in the other. Open your dog's mouth and begin to brush in a circular motion around the front teeth. Use a gentle motion brushing from the gum line up to the tip of the teeth.
Practice brushing the dog's front teeth for several days. Once you feel the dog seems comfortable, begin to brush the teeth farther back in the mouth. Brush teeth twice a week for regular care. Reprimand the dog with a sharp "No!" if the dog behaves aggressively.
Incorporate dental bones and crunchy food into the dog's diet. Soft food causes a greater buildup in plaque while bones, crunchy dog food and treats help scrape off plaque and keep teeth healthy.