How to Brush a Dog's Back Teeth

Medium
5 - 10 Minutes
2 Weeks

Introduction

It's often easy to forget your dog's back teeth when brushing. They are difficult to get to, and by the time you get through your dog's front teeth, you both may be ready for a break. 

Even though brushing your dog's back teeth is challenging, with the right tools, motivation, and toothpaste, you should be able to get back there pretty quickly for general maintenance. Remember, maintaining your dog’s oral health is important for his overall health. Brushing your dog's teeth helps prevent periodontal disease, which can cause all kinds of health problems not only in your dog's mouth and with his gums, teeth, and bones but also throughout his body, in his heart, liver, and kidneys as well. So make sure when you're brushing your dog's teeth that you open his mouth and get those back teeth nice and clean.

Dog's Perspective

By the time you're done brushing your dog's front teeth, your pup may be ready for a break or just done with teeth brushing for the day. If this is often the case, do front teeth and back teeth in separate brushing sessions. Also, though it might seem counterproductive, don't forget to get your dog motivated to let you brush those back teeth by using a treat.

The Puppy Smile Method

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Toothbrush
Step
1
Toothbrush
Show your dog his toothbrush before you begin brushing. Introducing the toothbrush to your dog if he's never had his teeth brushed will be important so he understands this is a tool you will use inside his mouth. If you're using dog toothpaste you can even apply a bit of paste on the bristles so your dog can sniff and taste.
Step
2
Brush fronts
Start your toothbrush brushing session by brushing your dog's front teeth first. Lift your dog's lips and with circular motions, remove any food or debris from the teeth. Angle the toothbrush to 45 degrees to get along the gumline.
Step
3
Back teeth
With one hand, spread your dog’s lips into a smile, exposing the back teeth on one side. With the toothbrush, brush the front face of those back teeth using the same circular motions as you did with the front teeth. Be sure to angle that toothbrush as much as you can to get his gum line in the back of his mouth.
Step
4
Repeat smile
Repeat pulling your dog's lips into a smile to expose his back teeth on the opposite side. Brush these teeth as well.
Step
5
Tops and edges
Place one hand over your dog's muzzle and lift up his upper jaw. Once his mouth is open wide you should be able to get the toothbrush to the back of his mouth to brush the top and bottom back teeth. Be sure while his mouth is open, you are getting the inside face of teeth and the inside gum line as well.
Step
6
Reward
Though it might seem counterproductive, when you are all done and you want him to be motivated to do it again, a tasty treat will reward him for good behavior.
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The Jaw Lift Method

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Toothbrush
Step
1
Position
Put yourself in front of your dog so you can reach his teeth and his nose. If you have a large dog, you may want to be on the floor in front of him, and if you have a small dog, you may want your little guy on a table in front of you.
Step
2
Prepare toothbrush
Have your toothbrush ready with dog toothpaste or a baking soda mix already on the brush.
Step
3
Lift jaw
With one hand, gently lift your dog's jaw by placing your hand over his nose and applying light pressure on to his cheeks, holding the muzzle upward. Be sure you are slow and gentle. Your goal is not to injure your dog but just open his mouth.
Step
4
Toothbrush
Once your dog's jaw is open get the toothbrush to the back teeth. With circular motions and an angled brush, clean his teeth as quickly as you can along those back teeth, getting them free of food, debris, and plaque.
Step
5
Faces of teeth
While your toothbrush is in the back of your dog's mouth, be sure you are getting the outside, the inside, as well as the top faces of all of his back teeth. You may need to pull the toothbrush out to reapply a little bit of dog toothpaste again for the second side.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Never use human toothpaste on your dog's teeth. Human toothpaste is harmful to dogs, and dog’s toothpaste has a great flavor your dog will love.
  • Mixing baking soda with a little bit of warm water also creates a great toothpaste for your dog's teeth. Baking soda helps kill bacteria and brightens his teeth.
  •  Make sure while you're brushing your dog's teeth to also include all of his front teeth.
  •  When you are brushing your dog's teeth, angle the toothbrush to 45 degrees to get along the gumline. This will remove plaque and bacteria, which could eventually cause periodontal disease.
  • Don't forget to get the back sides of all of your dog's teeth as well.
  • You may need to brush your dog's teeth in separate sessions. Doing the front teeth and the back teeth at different times might be best for your dog.
  • Be sure to have your veterinarian check your dog's teeth at every well visit. Your vet tech can also assist you with any difficult to clean teeth.
  • Though it may seem counterproductive, always offer your dog a treat for a job well done after brushing his teeth.

Conclusion

Your dog's back teeth are often not seen so be sure you are keeping them nice and clean. Train your dog to sit through a teeth brushing session and reward him for tolerance and patience while you clean his pearly whites to keep him clean and healthy.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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