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Hi all,
I am feeling guilty about my tooth brushing regime, as Sammy's first upper molars (?) on both sides are discolored. He does not like having his teeth brushed and I have to admit, I only brush his teeth about 2 times a week, sometimes 3. I use a baby tooth brush and doggie toothepaste.

His diet consists of mostly dry kibble and boiled chicken breast. I've tried bully sticks and dental chews, but have to be very diligent when he has them. I have an older mini aussie ( 40 lbs ) that I am afraid may become aggressive, even if I give both dogs their own.

Looking for advise for good dental health and suggestions. I used to brush his teeth daily, but have slacked off and don't really see any difference from the reduction.

Thanks in advance for any insight!
 

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Misha has a tendency for bad plaque buildup and staining. Some dogs are just prone to it. I suspect it's because he produces very little saliva. I like that, but it's probably not great for dental health. I couldn't really find a way to truly get the plaque off using various dental remedies. And he is horrible for brushing. Instead, I got a dental scraping kit and slowly desensitized him to having me clean his teeth with a scraper. It took a lot of time and care, but his teeth are now nearly all perfectly clean and white. You do need to polish them with tooth paste if you do this. I just use a q-tip with toothpaste on it since he hates the brush. I'm hoping it works. We will see.
 

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I think once there is tartar even frequent and regular brushing won't shift it, but - and it is a hugely important "but" - brushing can keep the gums healthy, avoiding infections and extractions. And once it is established as routine you are more likely to continue it after a dental cleaning by the vet, and not need another.

I let Sophy's dental care drift. She had a bout of back pain, and I had made the mistake of trying to flick the tartar off with my thumb nail so she did not trust me to handle her mouth, and with one thing and another her teeth became badly gunked up. I restarted brushing from scratch, reckoning on three months to get her comfortable with it again, and working in tiny baby steps to rebuild her confidence. Once she was happy with brushing (chicken helped, until we got to the point where a lick of toothpaste when we'd finished was a sufficient reward) I brushed thoroughly every morning - it did not improve the tartar, but slowed down further build up. When she went in for a dental the vet warned me she would probably need several extractions - in fact teeth and gums were perfectly healthy under the gunk, which he put down to the regular brushing.

Raw bones - soft chewable ones, not hard weight bearing bones - can help. I also use PlaqueOff, on the may-help-won't-harm principle. The best thing I have found for shifting tartar was Petzlife oral gel combined with brushing, but both mine absolutely hate the taste. I have tried most of the pastes and gels, and there does seem to be a reverse correlation between palatability and effectiveness, unfortunately! Logic toothpaste was OK, but set like concrete if it got into their hair. I am now using one packaged for UK vets by the XL Vet Group, which works better than most and the dogs love it.
 

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I find brushing a pain but it is very effective at eliminating or at least greatly delaying the need for dental cleaning.

For both my dogs, once every second day is enough to keep tartar at bay. I hate brushing so having a break is needed for me so I don’t get tired of it and stop. As others said, it won’t remove existing tartar but it keeps if from getting worse. I started brushing regularly when Beckie was 1 or 1 1/2 (she’s now 3) and her tartar has remained 1/4 as per the vet. She will get a dental in the next year to get rid of it, even if there is very little.

Merlin had to have a dental last year and my brushing has kept his teeth seemingly perfect. I do brush hard though, same as I do in my own mouth. Merlin tolerates it but loves the tooth gel treat at the end. Beckie loves it, she will jump on my lap as soon as Merlin is done (and push him down while he’s still there, lol) !
 

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I hate teeth brushing! 😩 Its not a big issue it just the job I tend to fail at keeping up with. I recently started to use a three headed brush it took a while for me to get used to it but It cuts the time down and really scrubs, I also use tooth gel between brushes, you just put a few blob on the teeth and they lick it around the mouth and it is suppose to desolve plaque and tartar. I also feed raw chicken wings twice a week. I’ve tried dentastix but she doesn’t eat them.
 

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Instead, I got a dental scraping kit and slowly desensitized him to having me clean his teeth with a scraper.
This is what I do! I flip both dogs on their backs on my lap (one at a time) and gently scrape the teeth. Brushing just isn’t enough for their little mouths, and they like wet food with their dry, so plaque builds up quickly. I only have to do it every once in a while, which is fine by them. If you do use a scraper, please be careful with it, the tools are sharp! I’ve poked myself a couple of times.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your replies! At Sammy's last vet visit last month, they advised me not to use an oral/topical gel for tarter build up. I asked if they could recommend something I could rub onto his teeth as a preventative. They said 2 - 3 times brushing per week was adaquate and not to use anything else.

I was wrong in my original post, as it's his two lower "big" teeth that are discolored. Not sure if it is tarter yet, they are a greenish/grey color? All his other teeth are bright white, but he is only 1 1/2 years old, so they are kinda new.

Being a poodle owner has made me a much better pet parent! My poor 14 year old Aussie has never had his teeth brushed, is doing well, but I never thought to care for his teeth. The vet actually said his (Aussie) were in decent shape and a cleaning might not be best for him due to advanced age - it might stir up problems.

Anyways, I'm going to try to be much more diligent brushing Sammy's teeth. He doesn't like it, but let's me do it easily. Hate the mess on his face, but it only takes a few minutes.

I spend more time per day grooming this dog than I do per week grooming me! Love him more than I ever thought possible, but geeze. A white poodle gets tear stains, pee stains, just walking around the house stains. He gets matts if the a/c kicks on, anyone looks at him or there may be a rainstorm 200 miles away!

This grooming is hard. I have no idea how a Spoo parent does it.
 

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What was the reason for not using the gel? I’ve only been using it myself a few months.
 

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This is what I do! I flip both dogs on their backs on my lap (one at a time) and gently scrape the teeth. Brushing just isn’t enough for their little mouths, and they like wet food with their dry, so plaque builds up quickly. I only have to do it every once in a while, which is fine by them. If you do use a scraper, please be careful with it, the tools are sharp! I’ve poked myself a couple of times.
Yes it was very tricky at first not to nick his gums because he didn't hold still. But over time he got more still and I got better at precise movements. He has been quite forgiving of my errors.

The two teeth that Misha had most staining on were the two lower molars that are completely obscured by the top teeth when his mouth is closed. They have been tricky to clean because I have to hold his mouth open to get at them. But after doing a little cleaning each time, they are looking quite nice. He also had a lot of tartar buildup on his upper two molars, especially where there is a little divot in the middle.

It's funny because people say dogs are like their owners. It's true. I also have bad teeth. And two of the minor conformational deviations he has... I have the same traits! Dogs are strange.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
"The two teeth that Misha had most staining on were the two lower molars that are completely obscured by the top teeth when his mouth is closed."

Yes Raindrops! Those are the ones that Sammy has staining on. It is hard to get all the way to the back of his mouth. I'm lucky that he tolerates it well and I've done better since making this post ( brushed 2 X today ). Even though he lets me brush, I'd have to restrain him much more forcefully than I want to, to do a good job.

Someone posted that their dog produces less saliva and I think Sammy does too. Glad he never drools. HIs mouth is always dry. I've also noticed his breathe smells more since I went with a "mustache" cut verses the clean face groom. I like the "mustache" look . but am going back to clean face.

Thanks all for your help!
 
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