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Dog Tooth and Gum Health & Bad Breath

by Eric

Left side of mouth 1

Left side of mouth 1

Left side of mouth 1
Left side of mouth 2


Please review the pictures of the left side of my dog Theo's mouth. I'm concerned about his oral health.

His breath seems to be a tad 'rotten' smelling, but I'd like to know an easy way to determine when the smell is bad enough for concern. Please also advise if his gums or any of his teeth in the photos need attention.

If so, what natural remedies can be suggested to address this situation, including the healing of the gums and the odor in the mouth? Is there a need for a vet visit?

When I was last at our vet a couple months ago for reasons other than his oral health, I asked if his breath was bad, as I started to notice it. At that time, the vet casually said that it didn't seem bad.

I've cleaned his teeth over the years by 'filing' the plaque off of his teeth with a dime(10 cent piece) and more recently with a nail file. He cooperates with me by not moving while I do it and it seems to have been effective.

Theo is:

15 years old this coming May
Collie/Husky mix

Thanks in advance for your advise.

Comments for Dog Tooth and Gum Health & Bad Breath

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Mar 17, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Tooth and Gum Health & Bad Breath
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Eric,

From the photos you submitted, I can see that Theo has moderate tartar on his upper Left 1st molar, and mild tartar on his upper Left 4th premolar,(this is the larger tooth, called the Carnassial tooth). I am unable to see any of his other teeth from just the photos.

How do the rest of his teeth look? The lower teeth, his upper and lower canines, and the other side of his mouth?

The best way for him to clean his teeth is for him to chew on tartar control treats. (Give one after each meal). I am reluctant to suggest raw bones, as I do not know enough about his health to recommend them.

Certainly you have done fairly well using 'crude' instruments to scale his teeth. Perhaps you should invest in an actual dental scaler. This would be the BEST way to scale the tartar off his teeth, especially since he is cooperative.

If your veterinarian is unable to assist, then find a holistic veterinarian that could show you the appropriate way this is done.

Since tartar is a combination of bacteria, saliva and food that has calcified on his teeth, removing this should make his mouth smell better again. Then you could try brushing with 'dog' tooth paste. This would 'massage' the gums and remove any minor debris lodged under the gumline.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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Related Pages:
- Dog Dental Hygiene & Mouth/Gum/Teeth Problems
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Mouth, Teeth & Gums Section

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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