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How Chewing Can Improve Dental Hygiene

chewing and dental hygiene

We’re told from a young age that we should brush our teeth at least twice a day.  It keeps them clean and healthy.

Your dog should also be caring for their teeth, but they need your help.  They can’t pick up a toothbrush and use it.  You’ll have to do it for them. 

Did you know that 80% to 90% of dogs have signs of dental disease by the time they’re three years old?

This is all the more reason that you need to be diligent and help your canine companion with keeping their teeth healthy.

Chew toys are a great way to help with dental hygiene between regular teeth brushing and dental check ups at the vet.  They offer a variety of benefits when it comes to your dog’s health.

To see the difference that offering your dog chews can make, you first need to know the signs of poor dental health.  We’ll take a look at those symptoms and how they can be improved by chewing.

Signs of Poor Dental Hygiene

There are some signs to be on the lookout for when it comes to your dog’s teeth. Some of them will be easier to spot than others, but with vigilance, you’ll be able to catch anything strange going on with your dog’s mouth.

As always, if you’re ever worried or uncertain, there’s nothing wrong with setting up a vet appointment to be better safe than sorry with your dog and their health.

Bad Breath

This one can be easy to brush off.  Dogs are known for eating things that smell bad and even saying someone has “dog breath” is meant to mean that they have bad breath.

While it may be normal for your dog’s breath not to smell minty fresh or odourless, you should be paying attention to any strange smells.  

If you notice that their breath smells worse than usual, smells like rotting food, or just doesn’t smell quite right; it’s time to head to the vet.

Swollen Gums

A buildup of bad bacteria and food particles can irritate the gums and cause swelling.  A buildup of plaque or tartar can also lead to irritated and swollen gums.

Bleeding Gums

This is also caused by a buildup of plaque or tartar.  When the plaque or tartar is removed, it can cause some damage to the gums. 


Plaque is normally pale yellow or orange in colour, so it’s easy to spot.  Though it can be colourless.   

It’s caused by eating.  Food leaves residue and bacteria will move in to eat the residual food that’s left.  Plaque is a naturally occurring part of life.

This doesn’t mean you should leave it be though.  Once plaque hardens, it turns into tartar which is much more difficult to remove.

Regular teeth brushing and things like chew toys can easily get rid of plaque.


Tartar can only be removed with professional dental tools.  It’s what happens when plaque is left in place.

Plaque hardens to become tartar.  While plaque is soft and can be brushed away, tartar forms a hard and bumpy feeling crust.

Loose or Broken Teeth

This is at much more advanced stages of gum disease, but it does cause teeth to become weakened over time. 

Whether the tooth itself weakens and causes chipping or the root end is damaged and causes the tooth to become loose, it’s time to visit the vet.

Preventing Dental Disease

So, now that you know what signs to look for, what can you do to prevent dental disease?

You can brush your dog’s teeth regularly and make sure they visit the vet for their check ups, but what about between all of that?

That’s where chew toys come in!  Chew toys can be offered to your dog regularly and have a long list of benefits, but we’ll be focusing on dental hygiene for now.

Chew Toys and Dental Hygiene

Toys like the Fenrir Hammer that include bumps and ridges in the design are amazing for keeping teeth clean.  

Chewing is your dog’s natural way of keeping their teeth clean and shouldn’t ever be discouraged.  You need to make sure your dog understands what is and what isn’t appropriate for chewing.

This is a huge step in the right direction to helping keep their teeth clean and healthy for a long time.

Let’s take a more in depth look at the dental benefits of chew toys.

Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy

As we stated earlier, chew toys help to keep the teeth clean and in good health.  They do this through the mechanical action of chewing.

The toy scrapes away plaque and debris as your dog chews.  This is very similar to when you brush their teeth.

The bristles on a toothbrush help to scrape away and loosen plaque as you brush.  Toothpaste also plays a role in this, because it is mildly abrasive.

Chew toys won’t be as thorough, but they still help and are a great solution to keep the amount of plaque down between brushings.  

Chewing also stimulates the production of saliva. We’ve all seen a dog having a great time while slobbering all over their favourite toy, but did you know it’s good for their teeth?

A dry mouth makes it easier for bacteria to grow and plaque to turn into tartar.  All of that drool might be gross, but it helps inhibit bacterial growth and flush away any loosened plaque so that it doesn’t stick around.

Dry mouth is also another cause of bad breath, so chewing doesn’t only get rid of plaque!  It can help to keep any “dog breath” at bay.

Stimulates Tooth Growth

Chewing can help soothe sore gums while your puppy is teething and freezing their favourite chew can help with providing some extra relief, but that isn’t the only benefit chews have.

Teething with their favourite toy can make the process easier.  It can help the teeth erupt through the gums more easily. 

Proper Jaw Development

A good foundation is everything and the foundation for teeth is the jaw.  The root of every tooth extends down into the jaw.

As your puppy grows, so do their bones and muscles.  They become larger and stronger.

Chewing will help the jaw bone and muscles develop so that their adult teeth have the support they need later in life.

A jaw that didn’t properly develop can lead to misalignment or weak and loose teeth.


Chew toys are just one of many tools to help your dog with their dental hygiene.  You should always encourage your dog to chew on appropriate things such as toys and treats.

Aside from dental health, chewing is good 6for preventing boredom and relieving stress.  There’s no reason not to provide your dog with all of the benefits possible.

What’s your canine companion's favourite chew toy? Do you notice a difference in their teeth when they haven’t been chewing on anything for a day or two?

We’d love to hear any dental hygiene tips and tricks of your own.  Come on over to our social media pages and send us a message!