Cleaning Dog Teeth by Tawnya Bobst, Dental Hygienist


dog-with-toothbrushDogs, like humans, can get bacterial infections in their mouth from not having their teeth cleaned. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause heart and reproductive problems. If you clean your dog’s teeth regularly, it can help to prevent dental disease.
Brush your dog’s teeth weekly with Young Living’s Dentarome Plus toothpaste as it contains bacteria fighting essential oils. Use less than a pea size drop.  Don’t use the Xylitol (Ultra or AromaBright) formula on dogs. If your dog has gum disease, brush his teeth daily. All dogs should be trained early to tolerate objects being placed in their mouth. When they are young, start with your finger and gently rub the gums. Slide your index finger inside the mouth and gently rub the teeth. You can start with a little liverwurst on your finger so it becomes a good experience. Praise them and be ever so patient as this can be scary to a dog that has never had this done. I usually put the dogs in my lap for this training. Once they begin to allow you to touch the teeth, you can introduce the scaler (teeth cleaning hand instrument). I like the Hu-Friedy SH6/SH7 sickle scaler. You can buy a stone to sharpen the scaler for future uses. I like the Arkansas stone. Scaling with a dull instrument makes the job harder on the operator and the dog. Before you begin, it is a good idea to have a friend wrap the dog in a towel. Your helper should lay them on their side and hold them on a table. To begin the scaling, use one hand to retract the lip and the other to hold the scaler. Begin by sliding the cutting edge of the scaler under the tarter deposit. Once you are there, apply pressure downward and away from the gumline. The tarter should pop off. Be careful not to cut the gum as it will be painful. As long as you are only engaging the tarter, it will not hurt. I would only do a few teeth at a time until they get used to the procedure. Some dogs may give you a challenge. Diffusing Gentle Baby or Lavender essential oil in the room can help with anxiety. A dog’s sense of smell is so keen. Aromas of essential oils have helped with everything from whelping to separation anxiety. If you are still having problems getting them to lie still, giving a little liquid baby benadryl can make them sleepy enough to get the job done. Ask your Pharmacist for help with dosage. If you brush the teeth and scale them frequently, the calculus (tarter) won’t get so heavy that it is hard to remove. Leaving heavy deposits on the teeth causes the gums to pull away (recede) and can lead to loss of bone support around the teeth. Once the bone is lost, the teeth become loose and bacteria hide in the pockets.  Irrigating with a solution of warm salt water and a drop of thieves essential oil after the scaling can help reduce infection.  Use a plastic syringe with a nozzle on it. Pull the dog’s lip back, tilt the head to one side (so the liquid runs out onto a towel) and begin rinsing the solution over the teeth with the syringe.  The Ezy Care brand syringe is sold at Amazon.  Be careful to not get it in the eyes.  Try not to let the solution go down the throat as the salt can make them throw up.   Here is a video on hand scaling dog teeth.
One of my friends is a retired Dental Hygienist (cocker breeder). She started a dog teeth cleaning service. She uses no anesthesia and uses the cavitron. The cavitron is a water cooled teeth cleaning machine. The nice thing about the cavitron is that it is quick and effective. It irrigates the area as it cleans. It is highly recommended for severe gum disease cases.   If you decide to purchase a cavitron, you must have a water source to cool the unit.  You can purchase water bottles that are connected to the cavitron to make it portable.  When using the cavitron, you must remember to continuously move the metal tip over the tarter to break it up.  You must have a towel under the dog’s head to catch the water.  Allow the water to flow out of the mouth, not down the throat.  Here is a video on using the ultrasonic cleaner.
This article is for educational purposes and not for medical advise. Seek a Veterinarian for professional dental cleanings and advise.

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