Are Maltese Known for Bad Teeth? (How to Prevent Teeth Problems)

An important point in the health of dogs is dental health. Good teeth are important just for food intake. However, there are dog breeds that are known for their bad teeth. Do Maltese also belong to the dog breeds with bad teeth?

Maltese are indeed known for their bad teeth. But they are not alone in this, many small dog breeds have dental problems. Therefore, regular dental care is very important in Maltese to prevent bad teeth. The dental problems can occur due to genetic disposition, but also simply due to the closely spaced teeth and the tendency to misaligned teeth.

However, it is not the case that every Maltese automatically has bad teeth. They are just more prone to this problem. Let’s take a closer look at the subject in the following.

We will also explain if it can lead to health problems if Maltese have bad teeth and how you can avoid dental problems in your Maltese.

In addition, we will go into what happens in the worst case. Do teeth ever have to be pulled out in Maltese? Can they survive without teeth? And how can you feed your Maltese if he has no teeth?

Do Maltese Have Bad Teeth?

In the literature, some dog breeds, including the Maltese, are mentioned as being particularly susceptible to dental problems. These are rather smaller dog breeds with closely spaced teeth or the tendency to tooth misalignment.

The problem here is that food debris is most likely to accumulate on closely spaced or misaligned teeth. If the teeth are not properly cared for, this then leads to dental problems.

Experts also speak of breed dispositions in the Maltese and other breeds. They assume that certain dog breeds are more prone to dental diseases due to their ancestry.

Basically, however, it can affect any breed regardless of its size, and with age, the likelihood of dental problems increases.

Is It Common for Small Dogs to Have Bad Teeth?

Smaller dogs are usually actually more prone to bad teeth or dental problems. So it is not only a problem in Maltese, other dog breeds like Dachshunds, Poodles, or Chihuahuas are also affected.

However, dental problems are only indirectly related to their body size. The problem is much more that these dog breeds have crowded teeth and are more prone to tooth misalignment.

Experts also speak of breed dispositions, which affect the dental problems in Maltese and other small dogs. This means that certain dog breeds are more prone to dental problems because of their ancestry.

Maltese are actually very robust and healthy dogs. Unfortunately, however, dental problems are one of the issues that can occur in Maltese. Just like tear stains, they actually seem to have a disposition for it.

However, tear stains do occur in larger dogs, you just see them better in Maltese because they have such a nice white coat. But that is another topic.

Can Bad Teeth Affect a Maltese’s Health?

Without regular cleaning, food debris is deposited in the mouth of the Maltese. As a result, the bacteria can multiply inexorably.

The greatest danger to Maltese teeth is plaque, which is caused by food debris. The plaque mineralizes more and more frequently until solid, yellow to brown-gray tartar has formed.

Tartar is usually first seen on the outside of the teeth. This tartar is unfortunately very stubborn. It is best to have it removed by a veterinarian.

Often, an inflammation of the gums develops with the tartar. This first shows itself by a clearly visible, narrow red stripe on the gums. This inflammation of the gums is mainly caused by bacteria.

Usually, the dog smells noticeably from the mouth. The inflammation can affect the entire periodontium: Teeth loosen and eventually fall out.

As the inflammation progresses, the entire periodontium may be affected. In the worst case, all teeth can become loose and fall out.

Other diseases of internal organs, such as the kidney, liver, and heart, can also develop in further course. This happens when the bacteria enter the bloodstream and reach the organs via it. At the same time, the entire immune system is weakened.

The dentition is a multi-purpose, vital element in dogs. For this reason, a regular veterinary examination of the oral cavity is important. A regular dental check-up is essential!

You should have your Maltese’s teeth checked annually by a veterinarian. However, prevention is absolutely necessary, just as it is for us humans.

How Do I Know That My Maltese Has Dental Problems?

Unfortunately, our Maltese cannot verbally tell us that they are suffering from toothache. So there is a danger that they suffer their pain for a long time in silence.

Attentive owners often observe a change in the nature of their Maltese, but without knowing the exact cause. Therefore, the daily control of the teeth should be as natural as the regular inspection by the veterinarian.

Look out for typical symptoms in your Maltese. This way, you can detect dental problems early on, before more serious damage occurs. Symptoms of dental problems in your Maltese are:

  • Bad breath
  • Changed chewing or eating behavior
  • Reddening of the gums and inflammation of the gums
  • Discoloration or plaque on the teeth (tartar)
  • Tooth loss

How Can I Prevent Bad Teeth in My Maltese?

The best remedy against dental problems is prophylaxis. This is not only true for humans, but also for Maltese. Only regular cleaning can effectively prevent typical dental problems in Maltese.

In addition, you should make sure that you give your Maltese high-quality food without sugar and large amounts of starch. However, treats in particular often contain sugar.

So pay attention to which treats you give. Also, fruits like bananas contain lots of sugar and should only be given in moderation.

You should also make sure that your Maltese drinks enough water. Drinking water will g rinse the roof of his mouth, so food debris won’t settle as well.

But the most important thing is regular dental care with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste.

There is a set with a toothbrush and toothpaste from Vet’s Best*, with which I have had very good experiences. It also makes sense to buy both as a set, as you should replace the toothbrush regularly.

But you can alternatively use a thimble as a toothbrush if your Maltese does not accept the normal toothbrush well. For this, I recommend the Jasper Dog Toothbrush*, which you can simply pull over the index finger.

Unless you have familiarized your Maltese with a toothbrush and fingerstall from puppyhood, you should proceed cautiously. Carefully introduce dental care as a new daily ritual.

It should always be preceded by an inspection of the dog’s mouth to check that everything is in order. If your Maltese already has inflammation or even toothache, he will otherwise associate this with the toothbrush. This is of course anything but conducive to acceptance.

Just as with small children, dental care does not always work immediately with Maltese. Therefore, the atmosphere should always be relaxed and playful. The magic word for Maltese dental care is patience.

In addition, you should give your Maltese buffalo skin bones*. These can reduce the formation of dental plaque by up to 25%.

There are also enzyme-containing chewing strips or bones that significantly reduce tartar formation. However, Maltese do not always like these.

Also, please note that these aids are not a substitute for brushing your Maltese’s teeth!

By the way, dry food rather reduces the formation of tartar in contrast to wet food.

Do Maltese Teeth Need to Get Pulled?

There are indeed cases when Maltese have to have one or more teeth extracted. The main reason for this is when there are problems with the so-called gum disease or periodontal disease.

But this disease progresses in 4 phases and only in the fourth phase it is necessary to pull the affected tooth.

Other reasons why teeth have to be extracted in Maltese are broken teeth, unerupted teeth, and tooth decay.

However, as you can see, these are not frivolous reasons. Tooth extraction in Maltese is only a last resort when there are no other treatment options left.

And in many cases, by taking proper care of your Maltese’s teeth, you can prevent them from ever needing to have teeth pulled.

Can Maltese Survive Without Teeth?

I can reassure you, if it comes to the worst-case that your Maltese loses all his teeth, he is not lost. Maltese can live without teeth. But it is generally unlikely that it will ever come to that.

And it is certainly better to live without teeth than with permanent severe toothache. Maltese can adapt to this situation and cope with it. However, they also need your support.

Be understanding and patient with your Maltese if he ever gets into this unpleasant situation. You will have to put a little more work into choosing and preparing his food.

What Can I Feed My Maltese Without Teeth?

If your Maltese has no teeth left, you need to find the right food for him and prepare it so that he can eat it without teeth. There are several ways to do this.

You can mash your Maltese’s food and mix it with warm water. This will make it a little more liquid. This will make it easier for your Maltese to ingest it.

Another way is to switch from dry food to wet food or canned food. In any case, make sure that the canned food is not chunky. Your Maltese cannot eat large pieces.

However, you can mash the large pieces in the canned food as well. This way your Maltese can eat it after all.

Just test different canned foods to find out what your Maltese likes and which food he can eat the easiest. You can also vary the meals to add some variety to the diet. You can also add a mashed healthy fruit like a banana every now and then.

Another alternative is to prepare home-cooked food for your Maltese. this is, of course, the most elaborate method. But then you have full control over the menu of your Maltese.

Cook different meats such as chicken, turkey, or ground beef. It is also best to serve different side dishes like potatoes, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, or zucchini. You can also add a little rice.

Of course, you will then have to chop and mash this meal again before serving it to your Maltese. Also, add a little water and a teaspoon of good oil until it has the desired consistency.


Maltese are known for their bad teeth. Dental problems do not affect every Maltese, but this breed of dog has a predisposition in that regard.

However, for the most part, you can prevent your Maltese from developing dental problems. Regular dental care and checkups at the vet are very important to keep your Maltese’s teeth healthy.

Don’t take the issue lightly, perform daily dental care on your Maltese and also make sure to feed him high-quality food, preferably sugar-free.

Then your Maltese should hopefully enjoy his healthy teeth for a long time.