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Dental plaque, tartar prevention and feeding - dryfood the best solution.

Does dryfood prevent from the deposit of dental tartar?

Tartar development

24 to 48 hours after the teeth have been scaled and polished, the dental plaque deposits on the surface of the enamel : it is formed of hundreds of millions of bacteria, amalgamated inside an organic matrix that makes a yellowish adherent cover on the teeth.

Tartar is formed by the calcification of the dental plaque : first spicules of tartar appear around the 15th day.

Dog's saliva is less acid than man's one : in dog, the pH of the saliva is around 9 whereas it is normally between 6,5 to7,5 in man.

This high pH would prevent from cavities in dog, but it would promote the precipitation of calcium phosphate, then tartar formation.

Ways of prevention

We must try to limit the accumulation of the dental plaque and its calcification as early as possible. First, the bad breath is directly related to the quantity of dental plaque deposited ; secondly, tartar accumulation promotes lesions of oral cavity.
Progressively, tartar in excess induces an inflammation of the gums, then the destruction of the fixing tissue of the tooth, that ends up in its unrooting and fall.

Action on the matrix

The presence of simple carbohydrates in the diet stimulates the bacteria development and consequently the formation of the dental plaque. Therefore, we must prohibit any kind of sweet snacks, likely to bring saccharose.

Mechanical action

In the wild, carnivorous use their teeth to catch and kill their preys (canine teeth), to separate meat peaces (incisor teeth), to cut and crush them (carnassial and molar teeth). These repeated contacts between hard food and the teeth realize the cleaning of dental surfaces. But this brushing disappears when there is no or little mastication

.Examples :

  • dental malpositions, wrong occlusion of the jaws
  • painful gum inflammation
  • food that requires low or no mastication.

Kibbles are definetely better than a soft and sticky food for tartar prevention. However, they do not perform a complete teeth cleaning as they get softer once mixed with saliva ; though, it is useful to offer apart some large-size dietary products or toys, that have to be chewed :

  • hard biscuits to crunch : under the condition that their caloric content is taken into account in the global feeding plan ;
  • beef bones : non-breakable and large enough not to be swallowed brutally : smaller ones are likely to induce intestinal occlusion,
  • "buff-stick".

On the market today, there are some foods that are supposed to prevent the development of the dental plaque. However, their efficiency is limited and their cost is such that their using makes it more expensive than a regularly scaling by the veterinarian...

Some dogs, mainly little-breed dogs, have a high tartar deposit, whatever the preventive ways that are used. Then it is necessary to be more interventionnist :

  • either by scrapping the teeth occasionnally with a very thin cleaner,
  • or by brushing the teeth regularly with a brush and a tooth-paste specifically designed for the dog.

Provided the animal has been used to it when he was young, he can rather easily get accustomed to it.

Antibiotic action

It is possible to associate antibacterial agents to the tooth brushing to limit the proliferation of the bacteria naturally present. It is mainly interesting for individuals where tartar reforms very quickly.

A certain number of canine tooth-pastes actually commercialized contain an antiseptic (chlorhexidine), or enzymatic complexes. For the animals who are reluctant to the brushing, it exists adhesive tablets for local diffusion.

In case of severe gingival lesion, an antibiotherapy will be administered by general route.


As a poor oro-dental hygiene may have serious consequences on the dog's health, it is very important to check the teeth aspect regularly. When dietary and mechanical prevention fail, the only one solution is to ask the veterinarian to do a complete scaling and polishing under general anaesthesia.

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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