Yes and no. Brushing is a great idea, but before you get started, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your dog’s teeth checked. More than likely he needs a dental cleaning, and he might need to have some teeth extracted. Dogs do not generally develop tooth decay like humans do, but they do form tartar and calculus (crusts of tartar build-up), gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Not only can periodontal disease lead to pain, discomfort, and tooth loss, it can also affect organs elsewhere in the body because of bacterial travel through the bloodstream, resulting in heart disease, liver or kidney disease, or other complications. Once your dog’s teeth have been cleaned and polished, diseased teeth have been extracted, and his periodontal disease has been addressed, it is time to start dental preventive maintenance at home, such as brushing, oral rinses, and special dental chews. Use a toothpaste formulated for dogs rather than human toothpaste. Talk with your veterinarian to formulate a dental home-care plan that will best address the needs of your dog, so that you may help maintain his teeth for a lifetime. January and February are Dental Promotional Months at Community Animal Hospital. Save 10% on dentistry!