All dogs have four different kinds of teeth. The first are called incisors, the second are called canines, then premolars and finally molars. Each set provides a specific function.
Incisors, the smallest teeth, are used for picking up things and scraping bones.
Your dog will use these teeth to remove anything unwanted and to nibble on when he grooms himself. There are six upper incisors and six lower, totaling 12.
Canines, or what are commonly called fangs, are used to grab things with; a bone, a toy or sometimes another animal. There are two upper canines and two lower, totaling 4.
They are outside the incisors.
Premolars are used for chewing. Your dog will take the toy or bone using his incisors and will then move it to the side and start chewing with the premolars. Wild dogs use these to tear and rip meat away from bones.
There are eight upper and eight lower, totaling sixteen. They are behind the canines.
Molars are the back teeth that break down bones and hard biscuits, four upper and six lower, totaling 10.
Canine teeth rarely decay, but with age bad breath is a sign of bacteria between the teeth and under the gums. If neglected, periodontal disease is likely. Gingivitis is when the gums bleed and the teeth have loose 'pockets'.
Harmful bacteria also affects the heart and kidneys if it is not removed. It is essential to maintain regular veterinarian visits so that this is prevented and a healthy course of action is started.
Brushing your dog's teeth at home is less expensive than having it done professionally.
There are gels, sprays and dog toothpastes easily available nowadays. Your veterinarian will show you how to do this and with patience and plenty of praise you and your dog will enjoy rewarding, quality time together. Cleaning last thing at night is suggested. These products work best with saliva and so remove the water bowl beforehand and replace first thing in the morning.