Take this dental prevention quiz to test your knowledge!
With respect to plaque and tartar control 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 ensures 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.
2) Yorkshire terriers are far more likely than Labradors to lose teeth due to Periodontal Disease.
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.
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.
5) If brushing can't be done, there are no other at home care products to prevent periodontal disease.
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.
6) 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.