Dental Prevention QUIZ
Tartar, plaque & bad breath = Periodontitis affects 80% of pets over 2 years of age. We can prevent all of these with a whole array of proven dental health products.
With respect to plaque & tartar prevention which of these statements are true?
1) The claim of tartar control on foods and products like milk bones is supported by evidence.
FALSE. There is currently no regulation on these types of claims for pet food or treats. Fortunately there is the VOHC.org approval that insures treats must be 10% better than the average treat and that foods must be 20% or better than the average dog food. This is quite helpful but while it applies to numerous treats, there are only 2 or 3 existing pet foods and one water additive. Read more.
2) Yorkshire terriers are far more likely than Labradors to lose teeth due to Periodontitis.
TRUE. The major cause of tooth loss it the destruction of bone by bacteria, which is why daily brushing and other things that kill these bacteria are so important. All small breeds have much thinner bone surrounding each tooth which is destroyed much quicker which can result in tooth loss if unchecked. Read more.
3) Tooth brushing must be done daily for it to be effective.
TRUE. Although all brushing helps to some extent, daily is by far the most effective. The reason is that plaque, which is soft (and has all the bacteria that cause the problems in it), hardens to tarter (the ugly brown material in 36 hours. It is the soft plaque that really causes periodontal disease, so removing it as soon as it accumulates is the key to preventing problems.
4) All dry dog food helps prevent dental disease.
MAYBE! Although it makes sense, this has not been scientifically proven except for selected products that have earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) rating & label. Over the counter and prescription dog foods that have been shown to be more than 20% effective in preventing plaque and tartar: Prescription T/D and Science Diet Oral Care. Read more.
5) I don’t want to brush my dog’s teeth daily so I am not able to do any dental homecare to prevent Periodontitis.
FALSE. There is a whole new array of evidence-based foods, water additives, and treats for cats & dogs that will help keep plaque & tartar in check. Read more.
6) Periodontitis can be partially prevented by a vaccine.
TRUE. Amazingly, although not available yet for people, for the past 2 years we have routinely vaccinated dogs less than 30lbs with a trivalent bacterial vaccine produced by Pfizer. This vaccine helps prevent the bone loss associated with periodontal disease. Although it is not complete protection, it is a valuable step to take especially in smaller dogs to help preserve bone loss and thereby helping to prevent premature tooth loss.
7) Hard bones are good for my dog’s teeth & prevent tooth & gum problems.
FALSE. This is one of the most common myths out there and a dangerous one because not only do butcher-type cooked or raw bones not help with gum disease, they chip teeth. In order to promote healthy gums, chews need to come into contact with gums. Chipped teeth may result in the need for sealants, root canals or even extraction. Rawhides, kings and other ropes or tugs that don’t “hurt your shin when you tap it with them” are far better and safer chew products for your pets.