There are many quality chews available that can provide the opportunity for your dog to scrape and gnaw on. This removes much of the tartar, as do fresh, raw bones, particularly beef soup or marrow bones. Even though these are good for your dog, it is possible he will still need to have a veterinarian check on his oral health to determine if any treatment is necessary.
Quite often he or she will recommend frequent cleaning of your dog's teeth, using a toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Sometimes it may be necessary to have professional periodontal cleaning, especially if the dog is older and has already contracted oral disease.
If your dog is young, brushing his teeth should be started and continued throughout his life. Some older dogs may take more time to learn this new experience, but it is advisable to be patient and persistent, praise often and make the time together rewarding and fun. Nowadays there is a variety of flavors in dog toothpaste, gels and sprays. Your dog will enjoy the taste and it is suggested that for the first few days to just run your finger along the gum line and teeth with a little gel or toothpaste on your finger.
Sitting at the same level close by your dog will make things easier.
Gently lift and pull back his upper lip exposing the gum and teeth. Do the same with the lower lip and then the other side. Let him lick the gel off your finger and praise him each time you stop.
When you feel it is appropriate, introduce the toothbrush and clean a couple of teeth making sure you brush in between the teeth and as far below the gum line as possible in a gentle way. Reach for the molars, as these are the ones that are most affected by plaque and tartar build-up.
Never show impatience or aggression. Also, never give human toothpaste. It is not healthy and dogs cannot spit. Brushing last thing at night is better, since the product works well with saliva. Remove his water dish and replace it first thing in the morning.