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12 Dental Products to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Gleaming

The toothbrushes, dental wipes, and breath fresheners that’ll keep your pup smiling.

by Avery Felman
January 25, 2022
A smiling man with short black hair sitting on the grass outside leaning on his Dalmatian dog who is also smiling showing clean teeth
Leire Cavia / Stocksy

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

There are about a million things more fun than brushing your dog’s teeth. No matter how many treats you offer, how much playtime you engage in, or even if you cover the toothbrush with peanut butter (which we don’t recommend), little can be done to make a toothbrush more than a torture device in your dog’s eyes. Knowing all of this, you may be asking yourself, Do I really need to brush my dog’s teeth?

“The short answer is only the ones you want to save!” Dr. Daniel T. Carmichael, veterinarian and board-certified veterinary dentist, tells The Wildest in this article about dog dental care. He adds that periodontal disease affects 85 percent of dogs, so those teeth definitely deserve some attention.

Although daily brushing is the best way to maintain your dog’s oral hygiene and stave off early onset dental disease, even the most stringent pro-brush advocates (a.k.a. most veterinarians) acknowledge that it’s no easy task. The best treatment is always prevention, so anything you can do to keep the bacterial plaque from accumulating on your dog’s teeth, the better.

How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

As far as tools go, you don’t need a special brush — any soft-bristled toothbrush is fine. A large breed, such as a Greyhound, might need something longer, and a small dog, such as a Pug, might benefit from a child’s brush. You don’t really need toothpaste, either. “The brush will do 95 percent of the work,” he says. “Most of the toothpaste is nothing more than flavoring.” Dr. Carmichael also recommends looking for products that meet the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Accepted Products List, which have been vetted for effectiveness and safety.

Once you’ve chosen your player (or tooth-brushing tool), you’re ready to start brushing, but unfortunately, your pup likely isn’t. It’s ideal to start them as puppies or young dogs, but if you’ve adopted a senior dog or are just beginning the process, it’s important not to rush or push their boundaries.

“Get them used to the process. As you’re petting them, lift up their lips and look at their teeth,” Dr. Carmichael says, adding that it helps to go slowly and take breaks. It’s best to start by letting them lick the toothpaste off of your finger, then off of the toothbrush before you begin the process of brushing.

When you’re ready to take the final plunge into brushing your dog’s teeth, make sure the outside surfaces of the teeth are exposed and begin brushing them in circular motions. Say you’ve adopted an older dog — yay! — they may have pre-existing dental issues, sensitivity, or just won’t be comfortable with a brush in their mouth anytime soon. In that case, go to your vet for an oral examination and potentially a professional dental treatment. That requires general anesthesia, which could end up draining your savings, so it’s best to start brushing early.

Oh, and once you’ve finished brushing, don’t forget to give the patient a treat, the dog equivalent of a lollypop. It’s important to reward them for their patience and make the experience a positive one so they’ll let you do it again — hopefully, many times over. The gold standard is daily toothbrushing, so we’ve come up with the best dental products that should be in your pup’s medicine cabinet.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Best Dog Dental Products

Best Dog Toothbrushes

Best Dog Toothpaste

orange and white toothpaste

Looking for a deep-cleaning toothpaste to do the extra grunt work for you? You could find your solution in this Dogslife dental care kit, which includes a triple-headed toothbrush to help remove plaque from all sides, deodorize bad breath, and soothe sore gums. Made with peppermint, aloe vera, and grapefruit seeds, it’ll get your pup’s whites whiter with minimal red (bleeding gums).

$19 at Amazon

Best Dog Dental Wipes

Best Dog Dental Food and Water Additives

Best Dog Breath Freshener

Best Dog Dental Kit

Best Dog Dental Chews

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Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.