A twice yearly dental checkup is enough if you are diligent about cleaning your dog's teeth at home. Regular brushing, at least 3 times a week, can cut down on tartar and plaque and help make you aware of any oral problems. Every dog is different, but small breeds often need to be checked more. If you detect a foul odor from your dog's mouth or your dog is having trouble chewing, gums are bleeding, a dental checkup is in order. Unattended tooth and mouth problems can lead to other serious illnesses.