Dental Diet

A patient's diet is important not only from a nutrition standpoint, but also for oral health reasons. The type of food provided can contribute to either plaque and calculus accumulation or removal.

MYTH: Feeding a cat or dog a dry kibble diet is better for the teeth than feeding them a processed, canned diet.

Pets that are fed commercial dry diets can still have heavy plaque and calculus accumulations and be at risk for periodontal disease. The truth is, most dry pet foods crumble without much resistance. There's little or no abrasive effect from chewing.

What Is a Dental Diet?

"Dental diets" either employ chemicals that specifically join with plaque contents to aid removal, or are formulated to not crumble easily so plaque can be scraped away from the tooth surface.

ADVANCE® Petfood has been shown to reduce the accumulation of plaque and/or calculus:

  • ADVANCE® Dental Small / Medium Breed
  • ADVANCE® Dental Large / Giant Breed
  • ADVANCE® Dental Adult Cat

Each of these dental diets should be fed as the main calorie source.  They have been designed to promote dental health via reducing tartar and plaque accumulation through mechanical abrasion and active ingredients.

Adjunctive Plaque Control Therapies

Chlorhexidine (CHX)
CHX is the gold standard for the inhibition of plaque development in human dentistry. It is broad spectrum and considered effective against:

  • Most oral bacteria
  • Most fungi
  • Some enveloped viruses

To be effective, the chlorhexidine must be in contact with the oral surfaces for at least two minutes. Humans are instructed to gargle to allow sufficient time for binding. For companion animals, chlorhexidine is available as an ingredient in CET HEXtra (Virbac) and in dental wipes. The mechanism of action is non-specific, involving disruption of cellular membranes. It binds to oral tissues and teeth and is slowly released at antiseptic levels for up to 12 hours. The oral LD50 is huge (1,800 mg/kg in mice) as CHX is very poorly absorbed in the gut. Its main route of excretion is faecal.

Fluoride as a homecare product is used in veterinary dentistry to help control plaque, strengthen enamel and desensitise dentin. In human dentistry, fluoride is primarily indicated in the control of caries, which is not an issue in companion animals.

Only stannous fluoride products have an antibacterial effect derived from the action of the heavy metals on plaque bacteria. Chlorhexidine-based products are much more efficacious at eliminating oral pathogens and are safer to use.

There have been no studies of this antioxidant in veterinary medicine, let alone against veterinary gingivitis. In one study, human cardiac patients who ingested CoQ10 noticed an improvement in their gingival health.

Water Additives
Water additives with Xilotol have been shown in studies to significantly decrease plaque.

Plaque Prevention Gel (OraVet Merial)
OraVet is plaque barrier gel applied at the time of teeth cleaning and weekly thereafter. It helps control plaque by creating a barrier between the tooth and gingival interface.