How to Clean a Dog's Gums

Medium
5 - 15 Minutes
2 Week

Introduction

Cleaning your dog's gums and gum line is just as important if not more important than getting those teeth cleaned. Though you may not want to stick a toothbrush in your dog’s mouth, you also don't want your dog to have periodontal disease. Dental disease in your dog is not much different than periodontal disease in humans. It causes red and puffy painful gums that eventually recede causing tooth and bone loss. Getting your dog's gums nice and clean will keep his mouth healthy, which in turn, improves his overall health. If your dog is nervous at all about brushing his gums, separate that task from brushing his teeth.

Dog's Perspective

It does take some time for dogs to get used to dental cleaning at home or with a veterinarian. Your dog may not enjoy having a toothbrush in his mouth or tasting something like baking soda or dog toothpaste. Try to keep tooth and gum brushing short and simple but often enough to make a difference. 

The Toy Method

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Toothbrush
Step
1
Toy in mouth
Place your dog's favorite toy or bone in his mouth and set it towards the back of his mouth. This should leave him almost in a smiling position showing all of his teeth gripping the toy between his jaws.
Step
2
Exposed gums
With this toy in his mouth, you may notice some of his gums will be exposed. You might need to lift up his jowls a bit to reach his gum line and gums.
Step
3
Toothbrush
Since your fuzzball has his favorite toy in his mouth, he is expecting playtime. Use a toothbrush with dog toothpaste and set the toothbrush just underneath is jowls to get to the gums. Angle the toothbrush to 45 degrees and begin to brush along the gum line between the gums and the teeth.
Step
4
Playful
Get playful with your little guy by tugging on the opposite end of the toy sitting in his mouth. This will distract his attention from what you're doing with the toothbrush and on to the idea that you may be trying to take his toy away.
Step
5
All gums
With your dog's mouth propped open with the toy, you should be able to get the toothbrush into all areas of his mouth to brush his gums. The exception to this would be the gum line just inside his teeth.
Step
6
Inner gums
Once you have brushed your dog's gum line all around his outer gums, you will need to remove the toy and entice him to open to get his gums just on the insides of his teeth. Hold the toy up over his head and encourage him to open his mouth. Once he does put the toothbrush in his mouth and swiftly brush along the inner gum line.
Step
7
Reward
Don't forget to reward your dog with some playtime using the toy. When you gave him the toy, he expected to play with you so be sure he gets some fabulous play with it.
Step
8
Treat
Once you are done playing with your dog and his gums are nice and clean, give him a nice tasty treat as a reward as well.
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The Hard Chew Toys Method

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Step
1
Perfect toy
Do some research on some hard plastic toys with texture. Find you the perfect one for your dog's size and his teeth.
Step
2
Play time
Play with your dog using these chew toys. These toys are specifically made for easing discomfort in the mouth when a puppy is teething as well as for scraping off plaque and tartar on your dog's teeth and against the gumline.
Step
3
Bones
Raw bones are a great way to get your dog to naturally chew while scraping tartar and plaque off of the teeth and area below the gums. Be sure you are using an appropriate size bone for your dog and consider only using raw bones from beef and pork. Bones that have been cooked could splinter and cause injury to your dog.
Step
4
Dental treats
Dental treats can be found at your local pet store or even your veterinarian's office. These treats are hard yet digestible. As your dog chews on them, the coarse, firm treat chips away plaque at the gum line. These sorts of edible treats can also massage the gums as your dog chews on them.
Step
5
Coconut oil
Apply coconut oil to your dog's favorite hard chew toy. As your dog tastes the oil and chews on the toy, the coconut oil will adhere to the gum line and work on killing bacteria just beneath the gums.
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Caution & Considerations

  • When brushing gums separately from brushing teeth, be sure you are angling the toothbrush 45° to get into the gum line.
  • If your dog ends up with periodontal disease, your veterinarian may request they do a deep cleaning of the gums to remove any plaque and tartar that cause disease. This might mean an expensive procedure with your dog under anesthesia.
  • The key to avoiding veterinary care for dental cleanings is to maintain your dog's teeth and gums on a regular basis.
  • If your dog does not enjoy brushing his gums, turn each session into a training session with rewards and time to learn how to tolerate brushing.
  • If your dog will not allow you to brush all of his gums at once, break your sessions up into segments of his mouth. You can brush each area one at a time over the course of four days or two days depending on how much your dog can handle.
  • When you are not brushing your dog's gums, consider giving him dental treats that massage the gums while knocking plaque and tartar off of the teeth.
  • Though you can introduce your finger with toothpaste into your dog's mouth at first, a toothbrush is going to be better at cleaning the gun line than your finger, so be sure to get your dog using his toothbrush rather quickly.

Conclusion

Gums are important to clean every so often. If your dog isn't keeping plaque and tartar off his teeth at the gum line and keeping those gums healthy, he could end up with periodontal disease. Keep your best friend healthy and with better breath than the dog breath his buddies have by keeping his gums clean.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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