How to Perform Dental Care on Adult Dogs

Posted - February 1, 2024

By Carol Bryant, Professional Pet Blogger

Dog breath. Gingivitis. Periodontal disease. Tooth decay. Oral tumors. Dogs experience various dental problems very similar to humans. Fortunately, regular dental care and maintenance can help prevent and address many issues with your canine’s canines. 

While maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for a dog’s overall health, many pet parents find it challenging to establish a routine. 

Here’s everything you need to know, step by step, to help your dog get started or continue on the path of good oral hygiene in dogs.  

Fun Facts About Dog Teeth  

As puppies, a total of 28 teeth emerge, also called milk teeth. Eventually, your puppy loses those teeth, and the permanent ones take their place. 

When fully grown, adult dogs have 42 teeth in their mouth – 20 on the upper jaw and 22 on the lower jaw. Most puppies are completely finished teething by the time they reach six months of age (and pet parents rejoice in saying goodbye to the teething stage.) 

Fun fact: Adult humans have fewer teeth than dogs. We have a total of 32 teeth compared to a dog’s 42! 

Dogs rely on us, their pet parents, to help keep their teeth clean and working properly. Aside from regular veterinary checkups and dental examinations.  

Sadly, when many dogs turn three years old, they have some degree of dental disease. Signs of problems include yellow tartar buildup on teeth, swollen or red gums, and bad breath. Many dogs suffer in silence with pain or discomfort, but it’s never too late to start dental care with your dog.  

How To Perform Dental Care For All Dogs 

According to Dr. Lindsay Butzer, toothbrushing is the number one way to prevent dog dental disease. You can work with your dog to establish a system that includes patience, practice, and incorporating brushless oral care products into their routine.  

Dr. Butzer says there are many health benefits to caring for your dog’s teeth and brushing is the gold standard.  

However, there have been advances in pet oral care, including oral care products that don’t require brushing. Here’s how to get started and what to use: 

  1. Start with a complete oral examination from your dog’s veterinarian. A professional cleaning under anesthesia may be required. This is a win-win because your dog’s teeth will be clean and ready for regular home care. 
  2. Start by letting your dog to lick a small amount of Oratene®  Toothpaste brushless gel from your finger. Praise them and tell them what a good dog they are. Do this for a week or so to slowly introduce the process to your pup. 
  3. During this introductory week, help wash away food particles and reduce oral bacteria by adding Oratene  Water Additive by  ZYMOX®  to your dog’s water bowl.  

Pro Tip: If your dog doesn’t drink a lot of water or you’d prefer not to use a water additive, consider the Oratene  Brushless Breath Freshening Spray. Spray into your dog’s mouth with the gentle mister for clean, fresh breath and to help decrease bacteria in the mouth. 

  1. After about a week, Dr. Butzer recommends using a finger applicator toothbrush to remove any tartar from the surface of your dog’s teeth. You can use the Oratene Toothpaste gel in conjunction with this step. You may need to work on one side at a time and provide plenty of praise. Never yell or scold your dog. 
  2. For dogs not fond of teeth brushing, Oratene’s Toothpaste brushless gel can help keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy between professional dental cleanings.   

Bonus Tips: Here’s how to get your puppy used to oral care at home. 

How to Apply Oratene Brushless Toothpaste Gel 

Once or twice a day, apply a 1/2″ strip of the product between your dog’s cheek and upper gums. Because it is a brushless toothpaste, your dog’s own saliva distributes the product to all parts of the mouth. 

If you prefer to apply with a brush, you can, but it is unnecessary. You should examine your dog’s mouth and use oral care products daily for best results.  

If you have any further questions about the Oratene and ZYMOX line of dog dental care products, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. 

Here’s to happy, healthy smiles for years and years to come! 

About the Author

Arden Moore

Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant as a “dog lover of the highest order” when she and her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, appeared on Oprah Radio. Carol is well-known in the pet industry, having appeared on television, radio shows, and podcasts, as well as in articles from CNN and Yahoo to Dogster and She is the founder of the award-winning blog and is the Immediate Past President of the Dog Writers Association of America.




Skip to content