Are Dogs’ Mouths Cleaner Than Humans?

by beaconpet
Dogs' Mouths Cleaner Than Humans

Are dogs’ mouths cleaner than humans? This is a common statement that many people have heard, but the reality is that dogs’ and humans’ mouths are quite different in terms of the bacteria they contain. While dogs may have a different set of bacteria that is not always harmful to humans, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their mouths are cleaner. In fact, both dog and human mouths contain over 600 different species of bacteria. However, it is still important to keep our dogs’ mouths clean just like we do with our own. Regularly brushing their teeth, using dental wipes or chews, and scheduling regular teeth cleanings with a professional are some of the ways to ensure good dental hygiene for our furry friends. So, while dogs may not have cleaner mouths than humans, it’s essential to prioritize their oral health to keep them happy and healthy.  Explore Beaconpet‘s article below to better understand this issue.

Why is the myth popular?

One reason why the idea that a dog’s mouth is cleaner has become widely popular may have something to do with the fact that dogs have a completely different set of bacteria than humans do. The bacteria that they inhibit is not compatible with humans and not as likely to have a negative effect on us humans if we accidentally swap saliva with a pup. However, this does not necessarily mean that a dog’s mouth is cleaner. Human and dog mouths are completely different, and it’s hard to compare the two since we’re two different types of mammals with different sets of evolutionary factors.

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Dogs' Mouths Cleaner Than Humans

Historical use of dog saliva

Historically, many cultures such as Greek and Egyptian cultures used dog saliva as a healing ointment. There may be some positive elements to dog saliva, including the proteins it contains called Histatins. For one, licking a wound cleans dirt and debris from a wound, and two, Histatin proteins can ward off infection. So, there is evidence of benefits that come from dog saliva, but still not enough to deem it cleaner than human saliva. These factors may have contributed to the idea that dogs have “cleaner” mouths than humans and possibly where this myth originated from. However, we would not recommend using dog saliva for healing purposes. Stick to modern-day medicines and professional medical advice because some of the bacteria that are found in dog saliva, including Pasteurella, can cause serious repercussions when added to an open wound, while harmless in the mouth.

Importance of dog dental care

Dogs and humans both contain more than 600 different species of bacteria within their mouths. This does not include the different bacteria that can be brought on by specific environments. While comparing which is cleaner is like comparing apples to oranges, one thing is true for both: it’s important to keep our mouths clean with proper regimens. One similarity between a dog and human mouth is the bacterial family, Porphyromonas. This bacteria causes periodontal disease, which is a serious dental condition that affects both dogs and humans.

The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is the swelling and inflammation of the gums. When bacteria begins to slowly build up on the teeth, they form dental plaque. This plaque is what causes the slow destruction of teeth starting with the tooth roots. It also leads to bad breath, gum irritation, and more damaging symptoms. Both dogs and humans are susceptible to this bacteria and its harmful effects if not managed with proper hygienic care.

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Importance of dog dental care

How to clean your dog’s mouth

Just like humans, dogs need to keep their teeth clean to prevent dental problems and maintain overall health. Here are some tips on how to care for your dog’s teeth and keep them happy and healthy:

Regular tooth brushing: The most effective way to care for your dog’s teeth is similar to how you take care of your own teeth: by brushing them regularly. Use a toothbrush that is better shaped for your dog’s mouth and a toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs. Gently work this routine into their schedule, and make sure to give verbal praise and show positive body language when they lick the toothbrush or let you put it near their mouth. We don’t want them to associate the toothbrush negatively, so it’s important to move slowly until they become accustomed to the process and look at it as a stimulating activity.

Use dental wipes: Dental wipes are less effective than a toothbrush because the bristles on a toothbrush give a better scrub, but they can still be a good way to keep your dog’s teeth clean if they aren’t taking a liking to a toothbrush. Simply wrap the wipe around your finger and gently rub it along their teeth and gums.

Dog dental chews: Dog dental chews, especially the Pupford Dog Dental Chew, work to scrape off plaque and tartar from your dog’s gums and teeth as they chew. The Pupford dental chew has many additional benefits as well, including added ingredients such as turmeric, spirulina, and peppermint to improve gut health and boost the immune system. These chews are a convenient way to help keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy.

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How to clean your dog's mouth

Use supplements: Some dogs are not fond of the taste, but certain enzymes in pill form can help with breaking down plaque and reducing bad breath. Speak with your veterinarian about the best options for your dog’s dental health.

Regular teeth cleanings: Just like humans, dogs should have their teeth cleaned regularly by a professional. Schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. Make sure to keep up with routine at-home methods so when you do visit for the annual teeth cleaning, they don’t have to remove any teeth or discover any health issues. As veterinary care can be expensive, it is recommended to get a pet insurance plan to help cover the costs.


In conclusion, dogs’ mouths may not be cleaner than human mouths, but it is important to try and keep them as clean as we can using conventional methods. Regular dental care is crucial for preventing dental problems and maintaining your dog’s overall health. By brushing their teeth regularly, using dental wipes or chews, and scheduling regular cleanings with a veterinarian, you can help ensure that your furry friend has a healthy and clean mouth. Remember, a healthy mouth leads to a healthier and happier dog!

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