Why Are Dog’s Teeth Always White

For most people, when they think of a dog’s mouth, the first thing that comes to mind is its teeth. As such, one of the first things you’re likely going to notice is that barring some exceptions, your dog’s teeth are surprisingly white.

But why is it that your dog’s teeth are always so white? Unless you’ve invested in some doggie toothbrushes, it’s unlikely your furry friend has had any dental work done. So what’s the deal?

The reason for this is multi-faceted, with a lot of different factors worth considering. In particular, a dog’s tooth color is determined primarily due to its diet and overall health. Below, we’ll go over what makes up your dog’s teeth, as well as why they may (or may not) be so pearly white.

Why are Dog's Teeth Always White
Why are Dog’s Teeth Always White

A Dog’s Tooth Explained

While the two groups may be different, dogs and humans share pretty much the same dental breakdown in terms of their overall structure. Like you, your dog’s teeth are made up of the following four tissues:

  • Enamel
  • Dentine
  • Pulp
  • Cementum

As with humans, each of these factors is important to canine dental health and all play an important factor in your dog’s overall dental health.


The enamel of your dog’s teeth is arguably one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to dental health. It’s also the primary reason that their teeth are so characteristically white in the first place. Not only that, but enamel acts as a hard and durable material that protects the tooth itself from suffering damage while also working to insulate the tooth’s nerves from foods that are exceptionally hot or cold.

A tooth’s enamel is made up of several different mineral materials, the most important of which is hydroxyapatite, which exists in the family of different calcium phosphates.

Enamel generally starts to form around a puppy’s tooth after around two or more weeks of the tooth erupting from the gums. If a puppy suffers any damage or trauma to their teeth during this time, they can potentially end up developing dental discoloration as well as enamel defects. And like humans, if a dog’s enamel is compromised in any way, it cannot be replaced.


A certainly unflattering color, dentine is located immediately under the enamel of the tooth and is yellowish. For humans, dentine is likely to be seen if the person’s enamel has begun wearing away. For dogs, while the same is usually true, this situation will rarely happen due to there almost always needing to be some acidic or excessively sweet agent to wear at the tooth’s enamel.


The tooth pulp is the third layer after the enamel and dentine respectively. The pulp acts as the innermost layer of a tooth and contains all of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If exposed (due to a damaged enamel or dentine), a tooth’s pulp can easily become infected. Especially for dogs, pulpitis (the inflammation of a tooth’s pulp) can be a serious issue, potentially turning into an abscess or otherwise decaying.


Cementum is the connective tissue that forms along a tooth’s root, helping to fully solidify it by connecting to the different fibers that keep the tooth in place. As with humans, cementum found in canine teeth acts as a final layer to the tooth, which, if compromised, will result in an entirely unsalvageable tooth.

Why My Dog’s Teeth Are White

When it comes to your dog’s teeth and why they are white, there are two major factors to keep in mind. These are a dog’s dental health as well as its overall diet. So long as both of these points are well cared for, you won’t need to do a whole lot of dental trips for your furry best friend.


One of the biggest reasons why your dog’s teeth are (or aren’t) white is, like us humans, largely based on their overall diet. This is most clearly seen in the wild, where dogs have a largely carnivorous diet.

Dogs are carnivorous animals and survive primarily by eating other animals. This is important as they rarely consume different enamel-dissolving foods like sugars, acids, and carbohydrates. All of these foods either directly or indirectly wear at an enamel’s integrity, causing their teeth to shift from white to brown or yellow.

In addition, dogs that have a largely carnivorous diet will find themselves actively chewing and gnawing on bones. This chewing action acts in a manner not too dissimilar to tooth brushing. This can be done with bones, sticks, or knots, meaning that they can eat, brush their teeth, and have fun all at the same time!


The second big factor to consider when it comes to your dog’s tooth color is their overall health. Simply put, tooth discoloration is not something to be ignored or dismissed. If your dog has a tooth color that is any color outside of white (brown, pink, blue, purple, gray, etc.) that is cause for concern and should be addressed by a practicing veterinarian.

What Causes My Dog’s Teeth To Change Color

As mentioned above, there are only two factors that go into your dog’s dental health and why their teeth may or may not be white. The first issue is what they are eating while the second is their overall health. If your dog has non-white teeth, your first step should be to schedule a visit to the dentist, there are varying degrees of severity based on the color of the teeth.

Below, we’ll go over the different tooth colors you should be on the lookout for as well as what can cause your pup’s normally pearly whites to shift so dramatically.


The most common issue for dogs, yellowish brown tooth color is almost entirely rooted in their diet. While dogs in the wild survive almost entirely on a carnivore-based diet, that isn’t always the case for their domesticated cousins. Many of the different available dog foods sold include large amounts of carbohydrates as well as sugars. Because of this, when consumed, the remains can progressively stick to a dog’s teeth, developing a tartar coating.

Tartar acts as a sticky plaque material that covers the teeth and contains millions of different bacteria. These bacteria will, over time, progressively eat away at the enamel of the covered tooth, causing the yellow-colored dentin to appear. These bacteria can also result in bad breath as well as a potential infection and inflammation of the gums, leading to periodontal disease.

Tartar can be very difficult to remove if not prematurely removed as plaque. This is because, when plaque is first exposed to the different minerals in saliva, it will immediately begin the hardening process and transformation into tartar. If you plan to feed your dog pet food that contains carbohydrates and sugar, be sure to routinely brush their teeth to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

If your dog’s teeth begin to show signs of browning, this can mean the tartar buildup is impossible to handle through brushing alone and should be addressed by a practicing veterinarian. There, they can perform professional scaling to remove the tartar before polishing the teeth. This will give you a “second chance” to care for the tooth based on how the enamel has survived.

Keep in mind that because enamel does not heal and that has already worn away will not be restored even through scaling or polishing.

Pink, Blue, or Purple

While not as common, if a dog has a tooth that is pink, blue, or purple, it is a serious issue and should be addressed as soon as possible. In these cases, it means that a dog’s tooth is dying due to a reduced amount of blood supplied to the root of the tooth, which is a condition known as active pulpitis.

Pulpitis, as earlier mentioned, is an inflamed portion of the dental pulp, restricting the amount of blood accessible to the tooth’s root. Pulpitis can often happen as the result of suffering an injury to the tooth, either through hard impact (being hit in the face) or from overzealous chewing of an especially hard material (chains, tennis balls, certain bones, etc.).

Pulpitis is most apt to happen to the front incisor teeth as they are not as deeply rooted compared to the back row. They are also the most used when it comes to biting while also the most affected in an instance of injury. If not quickly treated, an affected tooth can become incredibly painful for the dog and eventually develop into an abscess.


In the case of a gray tooth, sadly, this is when an active pulpitis instance has become irreversible, ultimately resulting in the tooth dying. While the tooth will no longer be painful, it is, for all intents and purposes, dead and can potentially lead to more serious bacterial infections over time.

A non-vital tooth should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent any chance of infection to the rest of the mouth or other teeth. Similarly, if the tooth has structurally sound roots, a veterinary dentist may be able to perform a crown or root canal to have it replaced.

Dog Sleeping


If you’re someone whose furry friend has all of their teeth in their original white color, understand that there are reasons for this as well as potential pitfalls to be aware of.

Be sure to limit their sugar and carbohydrate intake by feeding them more natural food sources like animal parts or different cuts of meat. Similarly, you also want to be on the lookout for any signs of painful discoloration in any of their teeth, as this is likely due to an injured tooth that may need medical assistance.

By knowing what causes a healthy mouth and what to be on the lookout for, you can ensure your pet’s teeth are as strong and as healthy as possible.

At Cozzzy Together, we love dogs. If you are a dog lover, we would encourage you to browse our collection of dog bandanas, accessories, as well as products to treat yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *