Some dogs have sparkling white teeth (or at least, whitish teeth that are free of tartar) throughout their lifetimes, with absolutely no thought or effort required of their owners. Those are the lucky ones – the owners, I mean – because more than 80 percent of dogs develop a form of canine gum disease by the age of just three years, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. The owners of those dogs – that is, most of us – should be brushing our dogs’ teeth regularly to prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar that precipitates gum disease. Proponents of raw dog food diets believe that the mechanical action of chewing raw meat and bones and the superior nutrition provided by the diets help maintain healthy teeth. That may be true, but for dogs on more conventional diets, regular brushing is the most effective method of keeping a dog’s teeth free of tartar and plaque.