Dog Teeth vs. Human Teeth

Side profile of an adult golden retriever dog yawning showing its pink tongue and teeth against a white wall

Dogs are man’s best friend, so it should be no surprise that our teeth are more similar than you’d think. Although your dog’s teeth look different from your own, taking care of them require very similar steps.

About Teeth

Dog Teeth

Like humans, dogs go through two sets of teeth during their lifetime, usually losing their 28 baby teeth during puppyhood. Adult dogs have 42 teeth, the most prominent of which are the long and pointy canines that help them hold objects, tear up food, and defend themselves.

Human Teeth

Humans start off with 20 baby teeth that we lose as we get older. The average adult has 32 teeth, including 4 canines (which are not as big or pointy as a dog’s), 12 molars, 4 wisdom teeth, and 8 incisors.

Dental Health Concerns

Both dogs and humans can experience tooth decay and gum disease if their teeth are not properly cared for. Just like how we have to brush and floss our teeth twice a day to maintain optimal oral health, you also have to take steps to make sure that your furry friend’s teeth are clean as well!

How to Protect Your Dog’s Oral Health

Although giving your dog chew toys are a great way for them to clean their teeth like they would in the wild, dogs at home eat processed and carbohydrate-rich diets that promote plaque and bacteria growth at more rapid rates than a diet in the wild would. Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to make sure that they don’t develop painful, and sometimes even deadly, oral disease in the future. But remember, be patient—it may take weeks, even months, for you and your dog to get comfortable with the teeth brushing process.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

There are plenty of special toothbrushes and toothpastes available specifically for dogs. Human toothpaste is toxic for dogs, so be sure to never brush their teeth with it!

  • Always begin slowly, and make sure that you provide your dog with a calm and comfortable environment during every step of the process.
  • Start off by introducing your dog to the feeling of having their teeth and gums massaged with your finger, and then offer them a bit of toothpaste to taste. Eventually, you’ll be able to gently brush their teeth with the toothbrush.
  • Go at your own pace, and never punish your dog if they don’t cooperate.
  • Reward them with a belly rub, playtime, and praise so they learn that their oral hygiene routine is a “paw-sitive” experience.
  • Try to brush your dog’s teeth every day if possible, or at least a few times a week.
  • You should also check with your vet to see if your dog may require a professional dental cleaning to keep its teeth and gums in good shape.

Take Care of Your Own Teeth

Just like your dog, you need to see your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and examinations so that you’re not at risk of tooth decay. Come see us at Mission Hills Family Dental for all of your oral healthcare needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Have questions about your own oral care?

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