28 Dog Dental Health Facts Your Vet Really Wants You To Know

Reviewed by Jaime Walker

March 1, 2021

Brought to you by the dental kit that helps dogs “brush” their own teeth daily—BARK Bright! See why dental health can’t wait till next year.

1. The younger dogs are when they begin dental care, the more comfortable they are. Start early!
2. Don’t freak out if your pet has black gums. It’s a breed thing, not a dental thing—that’s normal for dogs like retrievers, German shepherds, Dalmatians, chow-chows, akitas and more.
3. Puppies have adorably sweet breath, and 28 slightly less adorable, razor-like deciduous teeth. Look out, they’re sharp!
4. Dogs go through teething just like human babies. Hide anything you don’t want gnawed.
5. No heavy-duty chews for puppies, their temporary teeth are really fragile and can break.
6. Puppy teeth fall out at 12–16 weeks, and by 6 months, dogs have a full set of adult chompers.
7. Tennis balls, ice cubes, and chews that are too big for your dog’s jaw size can all lead to a tooth fracture.
8. Nearly 80% of dogs develop dental disease by age 3. THAT’S ALMOST ALL OF THEM. 
9. Stinky breath is one of the first signs of bad dental health—it actually isn’t normal for dog breath to smell bad.
10. You can do a dental disease tooth check at home. Look for broken, loose, yellow or brown teeth as well as bleeding, swelling, and red, receding gums.
11. Daily care only helps if it really is DAILY. Brushing regularly at home removes the bacteria-filled plaque that causes dental disease and bad breath.
12. Fewer than 2% of dog parents brush their dogs’ teeth. Like, ever. 
13. When plaque hardens into tartar over time, it can only be removed by a veterinary dentist.
14. Dogs are 5 times more prone to dental disease than us humans—the alkaline pH level of their mouths really promotes plaque formation.
15. As your dog’s immune system is killing dental disease bacteria in the gums, it’s also attacking gum tissue too. 
16. By stages 3 and 4 of dental disease, it could be too late for home care or professional cleanings, and your dog could lose teeth.
17. Dogs hardly ever get cavities. The bacteria that causes them eats sugar (not a big part of a dog diet) and is rarely found in dog mouths.
18. Pets are fully sedated for professional teeth cleanings (it’s less scary for everyone, dogs and vets included). The whole time your dog is asleep, your vet is monitoring their vitals. 
19. The xylitol in human toothpaste is very, very toxic for dogs, so no sharing please. 
20. Your dog may be in too much dental pain to eat if they’re only chewing on one side, dropping food, or even just acting like they’re not hungry.
21. Drooling is usually a sign of a dental problem, unless your dog is a big smushy-faced droolhound like a Saint Bernard or mastiff. Their skin folds literally can’t contain saliva.
22. Dry gums don’t just mean your dog is thirsty, it’s a sign of dehydration.
23. The Most Likely To Get Dental Disease award unfortunately goes to small breeds and flat-faced breeds whose teeth are really crowded together, like dachshunds, Yorkies, chihuahuas, pugs, and boxers.
24. Dogs can hide dental pain for years, but lethargy and irritation can help you tell if they’re suffering silently.
25. Dental disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and end up in your dog’s heart, kidneys, or liver. 
26. The risk of endocarditis (inflammation of the heart)  is aboutsix times higher in dogs with stage 3 (moderate to severe) periodontal disease than for dogs without it. 
27. Dogs with diabetes tend to also have dental disease, and the two can interact to make both conditions worse.
28. Monitoring your pet’s gums can save their life. A change in color from pink to pale white or blue is a sign of several major health issues—head straight to the vet.

Tip-Top Teeth Tips:

  • If your dog will let you, brush their teeth daily. 
  • Put daily care in your dog’s paws with BARK Bright—it’s uniquely effective, and FUN.
  • Let them chew, chew, chew. The scraping motion is a little like flossing.
Reviewed by Jaime Walker

March 1, 2021

Toothbrush-free dental care for dogs.

Fresher breath in 1–2 weeks.


Written By

Jaime Walker, Writer