Puppy with fairy wings smiling looking at words "Dog toothfairy's Guide to Dog Teeth Cleaning

Guide to Dog Dental Care – Everything You Need to Know About Dog Teeth Cleaning

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Dog Tooth Fairy’s Guide to Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

When it comes to dog teeth cleaning, questions abound from thousands of pet parents. How often should I brush my dog’s teeth? HOW do I brush my dog’s teeth? What’s the best dog dental care kit? Can my dog read my mind?

Rather than let you chase your tail, we invited a very special guest blogger – the Dog Tooth Fairy himself – to give you the scoop on everything you need to know about dog dental care. (Ahem, he can be a little “ruff” around the edges, but he means well.) Enjoy!

A Word from Yours Truly, The Dog Tooth Fairy

I know what you’re thinking – dog tooth fairy? Well, it’s true. I AM real, and I have two main jobs to do. (BTW, in case you were wondering, I myself am a dog, quite a handsome one at that. Whether or not I have wings, that is a secret I do not divulge.)

My first job as Dog Tooth Fairy is to leave a tasty treat under your dog’s bed whenever they lose a baby tooth. On occasion, I WILL chew up a shoe when I’m in your home, so don’t be too quick to blame your pup next time.

My second job is to educate dog parents about the importance of pet dental care.

In the past, I did this through a series of well-argued scholarly papers posted in the most prestigious dental journals. However, it recently came to my attention that nobody actually reads those things, so I decided to pivot and try my paw at writing an advice column.

So without further delay, let’s jump into your questions …


Question About Bad Dog Breath …

Dear Dog Tooth Fairy,

I grew up thinking it’s normal for dogs to have bad breath. But I’m told this is actually a sign of a bigger problem. Is this true?

From: Puzzled in Pittsburgh

Dear Pittsburgh,

The tooth of the matter (sorry) is that anything other than a mild smell warrants attention. In fact, bad dog breath is often the first sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of pet gum disease. (80% of dogs have gingivitis by age 3!) But don’t panic – it’s completely reversible if you start your dog on a dental routine, ASAP.

In addition to the smell of your dog’s breath, a visual inspection will clue you in to the state of your dog’s oral health. At least once a week, take a look at your dog’s teeth and gums. You want to see a nice pink color to the gums – no redness – and the teeth should be clear of yellow-brown tartar.

Yours drooly,

P.S. Can the Steelers offensive line get it together, please? It’s affecting my fantasy football team. Not saying this is your fault, just do what you can.

Question About Plaque & Bad Tartar on Dog’s Teeth …

Dear Dog Tooth Fairy,

What’s the difference between plaque and tartar? Is one worse than the other? And what is calculus? I wasn’t very good at math in high school.

From: Confused in Cleveland

Dear Confused,

I hear you! I was always more of a recess-and-snack-time kind of pup at doggy daycare. Anyway, calculus is just another term for tartar.

As for your other questions, plaque is a clear, gummy substance that naturally forms on dog teeth after meals. It’s the starting point of gum disease, but fortunately, it’s SUPER EASY TO REMOVE with a dog teeth cleaning routine.

The bummer is many pet parents don’t remove plaque from dog’s teeth before it starts to harden into yellow-brown tartar, a process that takes just 1–2 days.

Filled with bacteria, tartar can start to really irritate dogs’ gums, leading to infection, tooth loss, awful breath and even a shortened lifespan. Unlike plaque, tartar is NOT easy to remove and will likely require a trip to the vet for a professional cleaning.

So to recap:

Plaque = bad

Tartar = really bad

Your dog + teeth cleaning routine = healthy smile

Hope that clears things up.

Unequivocally yours,

Question About How to Brush Dog Teeth …

Dear Dog Tooth Fairy,

I’m intimidated by dog toothbrushing. What if my dog hates it? What if I hate it? Got any tips?

From: Scared in Spokane

Dear Scared,

Hello, I’m the Dog Tooth Fairy! Of course I have some toothbrushing tips!

Number one, before you start a brushing routine, it will go a lot smoother if you get your dog used to having his or her mouth handled. One or two weeks prior, dip your finger in broth or tuna water several times a week, then rub it on your dog’s teeth and gums with your finger.

Next … actually, you know what? My paws are a bit sore from typing, so I’m going to have my trusty(ish) assistant, Cat Dracula, come up with a graphic for the rest of the tips. Hopefully this decision doesn’t come back to bite me … he tends to make things all about cats.

Tooth-Fairy Approved dog toothbrushikng tips (purrfact for cats, too!) • choose a time to brush when your dog is relaxed. • Let your dog sniff the supplies. • Don't pin your dog down (scary!) - instead, kneel or sit to the front or side of your dog. • Lift lips with one hand and use the other to gently brush teeth at a 45 degree angle. •Calmly praise your dog throughout the process. • Focus on the outside tooth surfaces - that's where plaque accumulates most. • Aim for short sessions then gradually build up your time. •Always give a treat afterward (don't forget the cat, tee hee)

Arfectionately yours,

Question About How Often to Brush Dog’s Teeth …

Dear Dog Tooth Fairy,

My brother has a Maltese and I’m going to be frank with you: they’re both annoying show-offs. He was bragging that he brushes Lulu’s teeth three times daily, just like his own. (It would not surprise me if they share a toothbrush.) I told him he’s ridiculous. This led to a food fight at our family dinner. The dogs loved it, but my mom was NOT happy. Can you clear this up?

From: Food Fighter in Fresno

Dear Food Fighter,

Were there mashed potatoes involved in the food fight? Bits of cheese? Roast chicken? Oh, how I love me some roast chicken.

Sorry, I digress. OK, here’s the deal. In your brother’s defense, small dogs ARE more prone to plaque buildup because their teeth are more crowded, but three times a day may be excessive. Ideally, once a day is perfect for dog teeth cleaning. At a minimum, it should be done 3x a week. Otherwise, it won’t make much difference in their oral health.

Hungrily yours,

Question About the Best Dog Teeth Cleaning Kit …

Dear Dog Tooth Fairy,

You’re the expert on keeping dogs’ teeth clean, and I’m trying to cut my weekly screen time down (I have GOT to turn that setting off on my phone), so please let me know what’s the best product for dogs’ teeth.

From: Too Much Screen Time in Topeka

Dear Screen Time,

I am so glad you asked this question! In all my years as the Dog Tooth Fairy, I’ve found that the healthiest, happiest dog smiles have something in common: they all get treated to Oxyfresh dog dental care products.

These vet-recommended products are unique because there’s no nasty flavors, scents, dyes, alcohol or harsh chemicals in them. Only Oxyfresh has the exclusive non-toxic oxidizer Oxygene® to fight dog plaque and bad breath-causing bacteria.

So here’s what I recommend to get you started. It’s Oxyfresh’s Mini Pet Dental Kit. This complete dog dental care kit features mini sizes of their most popular products so you can try ’em out and see how easy they make a dog teeth cleaning routine.

Here’s What’s Inside:

  • Pet Dental Water Additive (3 oz.): So easy! Just add this no-brush solution straight into your dog’s water bowl each day to fight plaque and freshen their breath. It’s tasteless and odorless so even the pickiest pooches won’t know it’s in there.
  • Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste (1 oz.): Super versatile, you can use this gel as a toothpaste or simply apply it straight to your dog’s gum line with a fingerbrush to pamper, clean and strengthen their gums while removing plaque.
  • 3 Fingerbrushes: These soft, BPA-free, 100% silicone finger toothbrushes are reusable and dishwasher safe. Pets will love the gentle massage on their gums, and you’ll love how easy they are to use.

It’s my top pick for dog dental care kits, and I’m confident you’ll love it.

Oxyfresh fan for life,

If you have a question of your own about how to keep your dog’s teeth clean, just address the envelope to Dog Tooth Fairy. The mail carrier knows where to send it. And please don’t be afraid to enclose a biscuit. Thank you – Dog Tooth Fairy.

Dog smiling next to a box of Oxyfresh premium dental kit with words "works like magic for doggie smiles. • Fights plaque. • Cleans teeth. •Freshens breath. • Easy to use: pets love it!