This was sent to us from a CCI friend. The advice is from veterinarian Dr. Donna Solomon with seven of her favorite dental myths.
Myth 1: When it comes to dental health, dry food is definitely better than canned food for your pet.
False. In general, feeding dry food may be slightly better than canned food with regards to plaque and buildup. Compared to dry food, moist food can become more easily trapped in the crevices around your pet’s teeth and may provide a substrate for bacterial growth. Wild dogs that eat fresh meat and small bones may have slightly reduced tarter to that of domesticated pets who eat dry food only, but they have equivalent periodontal disease. There are some dry dog foods that are definitely better for your pet’s teeth, like Prescription Diet Canine T/d and Purina Dental Health for Canines.
In general, the texture of your pet’s food does not make a dramatic difference in tarter and calculus build up. What does make a difference, is brushing your dog’s teeth daily and chewing on specially formulated chew toys or treats.
Myth 2: Animal bones are good for your pet’s teeth.
False. Animal bones are extremely hard and can fracture your pet’s teeth. Please don’t give a dog a bone.
Myth 3: All fractured teeth need to be extracted.
False. If a tooth is fractured and the pulp cavity is not exposed, the tooth may be saved. This is called an uncomplicated tooth fracture, and the fractured crown surface can be smoothed and treated with a dental bonding agent.
A complicated tooth fracture is when the crown is fractured and the pulp cavity is exposed. If your veterinarian identifies a complicated tooth fracture, the tooth may be saved if the root structures beneath the gum are healthy.
Myth 4: Baking soda and human toothpaste can be used to brush your pet’s teeth.
False. Pets do not know how to rinse after brushing. Baking soda is too high in salt, and human toothpaste is too high in fluoride, to be ingested. Both these products can be irritating to your pet’s gastrointestinal tract when swallowed. I recommend a veterinary approved pet toothpaste.
Myth 5: An anesthesia free dental is safe for your pet.
Absolutely false. Anesthesia free dentistry is dangerous to your pet’s health. 70 percent of the pathology in your pet’s oral cavity is beneath the gum line and will be missed without evaluation. Restraining the pet for a potential painful dental cleaning procedure and probing is inhumane and should never be tolerated by any pet owner.
Anesthesia has its risks, but with a comprehensive pre-anesthetic evaluation and a skilled anesthetic team by your pet’s side, your pet’s anesthetic risks are negligible.
Myth 6: Dogs can give strep throat to adults and children.
False. People with strep throat are infected with Group A Streptococcus bacteria. Dogs are not natural reservoirs for this group and species of bacteria.
Myth 7: Dogs with dental pain will not eat.
False. Pets have a very strong survival instinct. They will continue to eat despite being in substantial pain.
Brush you dog’s teeth and gums daily to reduce tarter, plaque and periodontal disease. At least once a year have your dog’s teeth evaluated by your veterinarian. A clean mouth is a healthy mouth.