Importance of Dog Teeth Cleaning | Periodontal Diseases in Dogs

by Team Skipper's on October 23, 2018

The Importance of Keeping Your Pets Teeth Clean & Healthy

You only have to look at the amount of jobs our dogs mouths perform to realise how important it is that their teeth are properly cared for.

If they’re not looked after, tooth and gum disease can result in tooth loss, blood poisoning, organ disease and in the worst cases even death. Fortunately gum disease is easily preventable and can be rewarding for both you and your pooch.

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth infecting gums, bones and other structures of teeth in dogs. Initially it starts with gingivitis and leads to periodontal disease.

Causes of Gum Diseases in Dogs

If food particles and bacteria in your dogs mouth are left to accumulate along the gum line they will form plaque. This combined with your dogs saliva and minerals will eventually harden in to tartar which causes gingivitis, an inflammatory condition which can be seen by the reddening of the gums next to the teeth.

After a while the tartar builds up and creates spaces between the gums and the teeth that foster bacterial growth, leading to irreversible periodontal disease.

According to vets across the UK, the most common causes of tooth and gum disease in dogs are poor diet (42 per cent) and owner’s not brushing their dog’s teeth correctly or often enough (23 per cent).

Periodontal Disease Symptoms

These are the clues you should be looking out for that could point to a dental problem with your dog.

  • Blood on their toys
  • Difficulty eating and chewing
  • Facial swelling
  • Dropping food
  • Favouring one side of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding or red gums


There are a few steps to take to help prevent gum disease. The first is to make sure you’re feed your dog a high quality diet.

The second is to manually brush your dogs teeth daily using special doggy toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste as it contains chemicals that are toxic to dogs) and a doggy toothbrush. Many people skip this step because they think their dog doesn’t like it, or it takes up too much time. But with a bit of work, patience and plenty of praise and reward you can clean your dogs teeth in a jiffy and many dogs come to enjoy their daily tooth brush.

Here are some tips from the Blue Cross for training your dog to have their teeth cleaned:

  • Stroke your dog’s cheek gently back and forth to get them used to your hand being by their mouth. You should aim to do this for the first two to three days before continuing to the next step.
  • Introduce the toothpaste on your finger, allowing your dog to lick it off
  • After your dog has shown that they enjoy the toothpaste, start to run your finger along the inside of their mouth, following the gum line
  • If your dog is comfortable allowing you to do this then, after a few days, you can introduce the toothbrush, allowing your dog to lick the toothbrush with the dog toothpaste on (don’t put the toothbrush in their mouth just yet!)
  • Okay, so they’re now comfortable with licking the toothbrush? It’s time to start brushing those teeth. Start gently; targeting the front teeth first you should make gentle round motions, stopping regularly to allow them to lick the toothbrush (so they’re continuously rewarded).
  • Once your dog is happy to let you brush their front teeth and their canines, you can move onto the back teeth, repeating the stopping and starting process
  • After a couple of weeks you should be able to gently brush your dog’s teeth without any fuss. If you can, try to focus brushing where the teeth meet the gum.
  • Don’t despair if you have an older dog though - it will take longer, but you can still train them to accept tooth brushing
  • There are many foods, chews and treatments that you can add to the water and mouthwashes that claim to help reduce dental plaque and, while they probably help to some degree, daily tooth brushing is by far the best way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy.

Clean Your Dog's Teeth Naturally

Another great step for helping to clean your dogs teeth is the use of dental chews. It’s important that you use only natural chews, as many dental treats are full of sugars and artificial ingredients which are detrimental to your dogs health when fed on a regular basis.

Bones are a great option, and an important part of a dogs diet, especially if raw fed.

But another fantastic option is our very own Dried Fish Skin Jerky. Not only is the chewy, abrasive texture great for cleaning off plaque and tartar when your dog chews. But they’re also low in fat and have the extra added benefits of being packed with omega oils which are great for looking after your dogs joints, coat, skin and cardiovascular health.

Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Brushing your dog's health is an integral part of your dog's dental care. There are many different dog-safe toothbrushes and toothpastes available. Start brushing their teeth from early on in their lives, when they are just puppies. Integrating brushing is a slow process and takes time and is ideal post their exercise when they are calm and under little to no stress. If your dog becomes agitated, do not continue, increase brushing time daily and slowly.