Many dogs can be safely put under anesthetic by your vet to have their teeth cleaned, but that does not mean that anesthetizing a dog is risk free. Having said that, it is also every bit as dangerous to let plaque and tartar build up on teeth and gums. Accumulation of tartar is responsible for simple symptoms like bad breath but can also lead to more serious dental diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis.
Cleaning dog teeth is a crucial part of dog's grooming program, and your pet's teeth should ideally be cleaned daily if you would like to avoid any dental complications. There is a huge range of dog teeth cleaning tools, both manual as well as electric, that are available in the shops that you can use to clean your dogs' teeth at home.
Dog Toothpastes - It is important that you do not use toothpaste intended for humans. Dog-specific toothpaste is flavored differently, normally with beef or chicken flavor, so that it is easy for the dog to live with the taste. Make sure you choose one that does not froth or is easily rinsed.
Dog Toothbrushes - There are some manual toothbrushes that have a thimble-like contour that you can put on your finger and brush. There are also electric toothbrushes that require very little hand movement and let you concentrate on the gum line and regions between the teeth. Some dog toothbrushes have oscillating sideways movement, while some of the more up to date brands have three-directional motions.
Vibrating dog toothbrushes - These are ultrasonic devices where a transducer in the handle causes the brush-head and bristles to vibrate. It's also worth looking at ultrasonic toothbrushes that are supplied with tufts to assist the cleaning of gum sacks.
Dog Breath Freshener - These are used for dealing with a case of occasional bad breath. Some of these fresheners have fungicidal and bactericide attributes and consequently keep the flora in the mouth at satisfactory levels. These are usually intended for use after brushing the dog's teeth. Most dog oral breath sprays and fresheners use chlorhexidine for its antiseptic properties. If you are looking for a natural remedy, other active ingredients that are also used these days are herbs that have antiseptic properties and cure bad dog breath.
Apart from the dog teeth cleaning tools referred to above, there are also particular teeth cleaning diets that play an important role in encouraging oral health in dogs. Moist diets tend to stick to the gum line, while kibble is hard and therefore scrubs teeth, too.
When choosing any of the above products and dog teeth cleaning tools, always make sure that you use the ones that are specifically intended for dogs.