How to Remove Plaque from your Dog’s Teeth with Chinese Herbs

Polar hates getting his teeth brushed. He struggles incessantly, grits his teeth and eats the toothpaste throughout the short 5 minute sessions. Although he hates it, I still try to brush his teeth at least twice a week. Despite our efforts, his fishy breath and plaque buildup were constant problems which brushing alone couldn’t solve. I love hugging and kissing Polar, so salmon breath is a huge turnoff!

After researching a fair bit on this problem, we started adding a pinch of Plaqueoff to his breakfast. Plaqueoff is a dietary supplement that supposedly aids your dog’s dental hygiene. It’s a powdery substance to mix in daily with your dog’s meals. Polar didn’t seem to mind the taste. Over 4-6 weeks, his breath improved tremendously, which was a godsend! Hugs and kisses for everyone!

However, the unsightly plaque remained.

A couple our friends recommended that we try this herb called 木贼 (mu 4th sound, zei 2nd sound) that is available from most traditional Chinese medical shops. It’s reputed to be able to remove the most stubborn chunks of dental plaque from our dogs’ teeth.

I set out to find this “magical” herb. It wasn’t easy though! As my Mandarin isn’t strong, I had a hard time describing the herb to a couple of shop owners even with the han yu pin ying aid. Moreover, it’s not a commonly sought after herb, and the first two shops that I went to either didn’t have it or didn’t know where they had placed it. I went to the 3rd shop armed with an image of the herb, and that’s when I finally found it.

According to the lady at the shop, this herb is mostly used for removing plaque off human teeth, and it was the first time hearing that someone wanted it for a dog!

We got quite a big bag for a dollar. Recommended directions for use was 2 – 3 pieces each time, so the bag is definitely going to last us a long time.


Herb and Water

Take a few pieces and soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Fold a piece into half, grip it with your thumb and forefinger and use the folded end to gently scrape away at the plaque buildup. Careful not to harm your furkid’s gums!

Polar unaware of what we are about to do

I took a picture of Polar’s teeth before I started, for comparison:

I have to say, it was pretty amazing because within the first few scrapes, I could see some of the plaque coming off.

And then as I carefully manoeuvred around scraping, a huge chunk came off!

It was such satisfaction as I saw progress like never before!

A comparison of before and after:

My verdict – It definitely works. I was unable to photograph the process of me scraping it as I needed both hands; one to hold Polar, another to scrape. In my opinion, it’s a safer solution than using a metal scraper, as it’s natural, softer and less likely to cut your furkid’s gums. If your dog is alright with you touching his/her mouth like the above, I would recommend you to try this herb for yourself. It’s such joy to see huge pieces of longstanding dental plaque coming off.

Hurray to Polar’s clean teeth!

Until next time, stay curious!


  • July 5, 2015, 5:32 pm  Reply

    I tried this too! She super hates teeth brushing so I only got a tiny bit off each time. But at least it’s something! ^^

    • July 6, 2015, 1:06 pm

      omg that’s really cool! didn’t know this herb exists. may try this on smalls! about the brushing… do u try randomly touching polar’s teeth to get him used to it? I started on tugger when he was a puppy and now he loves brushing teeth so much he starts queuing up for his turn even before i finish brushing mine (he listens out to my electric toothbrush sound). makes it a lot easier for me

  • July 5, 2015, 5:34 pm  Reply

    It felt so good when the big pieces came off. Such satisfaction. XD

  • liana
    July 6, 2015, 11:00 pm  Reply

    Hai…would u mind share to me where i can find the herb?? Because my dogs also got very bad plague and everytime i do mybown scalling also not really helpfull..thx

    • July 6, 2015, 11:24 pm

      You can find it at any typical Chinese medical shop in neighbourhoods. I got mine at whampao. Just show them the picture =)

      • pat
        September 22, 2015, 2:30 pm

        Rub towards the gums or away from the gums?

        • September 22, 2015, 2:38 pm

          Hello, I rub it away as I’m afraid I’ll injure Polar.. So I scrub outwards!

  • July 7, 2015, 9:49 pm  Reply

    Ooh this is so cool!! Wanna try it for nikie too!

  • Chris
    September 30, 2015, 8:25 pm  Reply

    tried it. gonna continue for a few more times to see the effect
    Thank you for sharing
    Cheers, Chris

    • September 30, 2015, 8:26 pm

      U’re welcome! Pls note that I’m also using plaqueoff so that might be helping to soften the plaque already. It also reduces the dog breath!

  • October 22, 2015, 12:15 am  Reply

    Hello I have seen drill results in this post, and I wonder if you could tell me the name of the plant or root , I live in Spain is so that it can buy, many thanks

  • Jennifer Farrell
    December 12, 2016, 1:50 am  Reply

    Where can I buy it in Massachusetts

    • polarthecurious
      December 28, 2016, 3:31 am

      Hi Jennifer,
      Are there any Chinese herb shop in Massachusetts?

  • Paula
    December 20, 2016, 7:52 pm  Reply

    Does anyone now where i can purchase this herb in Toronto Canada. thanks

    • polarthecurious
      December 28, 2016, 3:30 am

      Hi Paula!
      Are there any Chinese herb shops in Toronto?

  • Jennifer Farrell
    April 29, 2017, 11:30 am  Reply

    I bought this but it looks totally different than the one in the picture why would that be

  • Joseph
    July 12, 2018, 12:03 am  Reply

    I know I’m late to the game, but the western name for this type of plant is “Equisetum” – Horsetail rush. It has a high silica content, making the surface abrasive. Historically, it was used as a finishing method for nice cabinetry work. It grows in marshy areas and can easily be propagated by dividing the sections.

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