Tartar forms from the buildup of plaque. Plaque is a slimy combination of bacteria and food particles. With time, the plaque forms a hard, almost rock-like, substance on the teeth. Tartar acts a lot like a concrete sidewalk – just as sweeping the sidewalk with a broom doesn’t remove the concrete, a toothbrush is not going to get tartar off teeth. By the time tartar forms, it needs to be scraped off either with an ultrasonic scaler or a hand scaler, just like we have done for ourselves at the dentist’s office.

Once the teeth are clean and shiny, a great diet and daily brushing will go along way to prevent future tartar buildup. Another tool to slow buildup of tartar is elk antler chews. I’ve been really surprised to see how well they work! In some cases, a good chewer can scrape some tartar off his teeth with elk antlers.

There are also chemicals that go in the water, or other kinds of chews, or even foods that are supposed to remove dental tartar. These products only work if they actually contact the teeth in a real world setting (as opposed to the laboratory). Chemicals in the water only work if dogs gargle – and it makes you wonder what those chemicals do to the rest of their body.

So, get a dental cleaning before your dog needs teeth pulled, then maintain the clean shiny teeth with daily brushing and elk antler chews.

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