If you are a dog owner, you probably already make regular veterinarian visits. Taking your dog to the dentist is also an important part of overall canine health. Just as it's important to keep your own teeth clean and cavity-free, it's necessary to maintain your canine's teeth as well. If you neglect your pet's teeth, he may experience pain, tooth loss and even heart and other organ damage. Here are five ways to care for your dog's teeth:

1. Brush your dog's teeth at least three to five times a week to keep his breath fresh and prevent periodontal disease. If bacteria builds up on the dog's teeth and gums, it may break off over time and enter his bloodstream. When that happens, the bacteria may affect his organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. The bacteria can also lead to infections and eventually tooth loss as well.

For best results, use a double-headed toothbrush and start slowly. You can increase the brushing time as your dog gets more and more used to the procedure. For the first few brushings, pick a time when your dog is calm and relaxed, such as after running and playing outside.

Never use a toothpaste containing fluoride, which is highly toxic to dogs. Only use toothpaste that is made specifically for dogs.

2. Protect your dog's oral health by feeding a diet consisting of mainly hard food, as soft food can stick to his teeth and cause decay over time. Crunchy kibble is less likely to adhere to dogs' teeth and some brands even help remove tartar buildup. 

3. Give your dog plenty of chew toys and bones to enjoy. Look for toys and bones that are made especially for strengthening and cleaning dogs' teeth. Chewing on these items will also facilitate in the removal of tartar. Avoid giving your dog hard items that aren't made specifically for canines to chew on, as they may break teeth or cause other mouth damage. 

4. Be aware of any signs of oral disease so that you can stop the progression. Things to watch out for are drooling, bad breath, gum tumors, cysts under the tongue, and loose teeth. Gingivitis and tooth decay can also cause a receding gum line.

5. Take your pet to a dog dental care center for a regular cleanings. In addition to cleaning the canine's teeth, a dog dentist like Kenmore Veterinary Hospital can also diagnose any mouth-related issues before they get worse.