Oral disease can lead to a variety of other serious health problems for your dog, such as heart, kidney, and lung disease. That's why prevention is so important.

As a responsible pet parent, your dog’s dental health is literally in your hands. Take the following assessment to see how he fares on the dental scale—then discover what you should do to maintain or change his oral care regimen.

  • A) My dog's teeth are clean and white, and his gums are a healthy pink color.
  • B) My dog's teeth are yellowish, brownish, or blackish, especially near the gum line, and he has bad breath.
  • C) My dog's teeth are discolored, and his gums appear red and inflamed; sometimes they even bleed. He also has bad breath.

If you chose "A":

Congratulations, you're doing a great job caring for your dog's teeth and gums! Continue to brush his teeth daily with a canine-specific toothbrush and toothpaste and supplement brushing with a plaque-inhibiting foam or mouthwash. With the help of Nylabone's extensive line of dental toothbrushes, toothpastes, tartar removers, and chews, you can provide excellent preventive care to continue to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy. Also, don’t forget to schedule an annual dental exam with your vet.

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If you chose "B":

Your dog has plaque and tartar on his teeth, but don't panic—with the proper treatment, you can reverse this condition. It’s important to realize that plaque is a mixture of saliva and food particles that attracts bacteria; when this mixture hardens after a few days, it becomes tartar, which can be difficult to remove. Turn back the clock by beginning a daily brushing schedule, paying close attention to the gum line, where plaque and tartar are most likely to form. Pair this with a plaque-inhibiting foam or water additive, and give your dog toys and chews, such as those made by Nylabone, to mechanically remove plaque and tartar. Bring him to the vet at least once a year for a dental exam.

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If you chose "C":

Your dog has bypassed the plaque and tartar stage and is now suffering from gingivitis, a painful condition characterized by red, inflamed, and bleeding or even receding gums. This is the final step before irreversible periodontal disease kicks in, so it's crucial that you take action immediately. First bring your dog to the vet; on the home front, institute a once-a-day brushing schedule, taking advantage of Nylabone's full line of dental toothbrushes and toothpastes. Use a plaque-inhibiting foam or water additive, and give your dog plenty of age- and size-appropriate toys and chews to keep his whole mouth healthy. Talk to your vet about feeding your dog a specialty kibble, which may help scrape some plaque off the teeth.

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