Many people don't realize that the offensive breath coming from their dog isn't normal. In fact, it could be a sign that there are dental issues brewing. Maintaining the health of your dog's teeth and gums are important to his overall health, especially since infections of the mouth can spread to other systems and lead to more serious conditions.

There are plenty of natural ways to keep your pet's mouth healthy. The key, though, is to follow these steps every day, just as you brush your teeth daily to ensure your oral health.

The Right Diet

Nutrition is a key component to keeping your dog healthy, right down to the teeth and gums. Raw diets tend to work best because they mimic the natural tearing and pulling action that animals use in the wild in order to rip flesh away from bone, and this stimulates the gums and cleans the teeth.

Providing raw bones, no matter what type of food you feed, is also a great way to allow your dog to not only clean the teeth but get some natural calcium as well. Never cook bones because they'll become brittle and can cause serious injuries when ingested. Stick with chicken necks for small dogs, and give knucklebones and marrowbones to larger breeds of dogs.

Kibble won't keep your dog's teeth clean. The carbohydrates within the kibble will actually do more harm than good, and while many think that the abrasiveness of kibble will clean the mouth, this simply isn't true.

Brush Daily

Brushing is another key component to naturally maintaining your pet's oral health. Purchase a natural enzymatic toothpaste made specifically for dogs. These are great because the enzymes will work on breaking down plaque without the need for actual brushing action.

To make the process of getting your furry friend used to having his teeth brushed easier, start at a young age, go slow, and be patient. A little bit every day will go a long way, especially if you're gently using your finger or a species-appropriate toothbrush. You can even use a small piece of gauze or a washcloth, both of which have an abrasive texture, if your pet simply won't tolerate a toothbrush.

Natural Supplements

Natural supplements can be used to keep your pet's mouth healthy. For example, apply calendula (a homeopathic remedy) onto the gums to prevent gum disease. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and fortify the ligaments and connective tissues of the gums that hold teeth in place. And CoQ10 is great for reducing inflammation and swelling of the gums.

Regular Check-Ups at the Vet

No matter how well you keep track of your dog's oral health at home, it's always recommended that you bring your pet to the vet to have a thorough examination of the mouth. Your vet can also provide cleanings to eliminate any plaque and tartar you were unable to remove and prevent.