The Impact of Dry Dog Food on Your Dog's Dental Health

Dry dog food is often thought to be the best option for maintaining your pet's dental health. But did you know that this diet can lead to more dental issues than it prevents?

This is because dry dog food contains a higher amount of sugars and refined carbohydrates than canned or wet foods. These are the culprits that promote plaque and tartar buildup in your dog's mouth, resulting in more serious oral health problems.

It Helps Remove Plaque

Dental hygiene is an important aspect of a dog's overall health. Without regular cleanings, plaque buildup can lead to gingivitis and tartar. These issues, which can cause bad breath, swollen gums, and pain, can damage the teeth and even affect the heart and kidneys.

Plaque is a sticky biofilm that forms on your dog's teeth and gums when food particles, saliva, and bacteria combine. It needs to be brushed away daily to prevent the buildup of tartar and other issues.

If left untreated, plaque can also lead to gingivitis and tartar, which are painful conditions that are accompanied by bad breath. Tartar is a hard mineral-based substance that forms on the tooth's surface and below the gum line. It irritates the gum tissue and causes inflammation.

The best way to keep your dog's teeth clean is to brush them regularly with a toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste. It's also recommended to schedule professional teeth cleanings with a veterinarian.

A high-quality dry dog food may help to reduce the amount of plaque that your dog develops over time. Some kibbles are specifically formulated to reduce plaque and other types of tartar.

It is also helpful to provide your dog with chews and treats that are designed to reduce plaque. These treats are available at your local pet store or online.

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Chews and other dental treats are often flavored with antibacterial and/or antioxidant ingredients, which can help to fight the development of plaque. Some of these products are endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and have undergone testing to prove they help to remove plaque.

Raw meaty bones, too, can be beneficial for reducing plaque and tartar. These bones have a mildly abrasive texture that can help to scrape off a small amount of plaque. However, it is essential to ensure that the size of the bone is suitable for your dog's teeth.

When choosing a dog food, make sure it is formulated with minimally processed, whole foods and has low carbohydrate and starch levels. These foods help to support a balanced oral microbiome and improve the immune system.

It Helps Prevent Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease, a condition that affects your dog's teeth and gums. It's a reversible disease that can be controlled with proper oral care. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which is a nonreversible condition that leads to tooth loss and infection.

When dogs eat, tiny bits of food are left behind on their teeth, and these can mix with saliva and bacteria to form plaque, which collects along the gum line. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, which can cause gingivitis if not treated early.

Fortunately, dry dog food can help reduce the risk of gingivitis developing in your dog's mouth. Studies have shown that dry food with specific dental ingredients can help to decrease the amount of plaque that accumulates on your dog's teeth and reduces inflammation of the gums.

It also helps to prevent tartar buildup from forming on your dog's teeth by reducing the rate at which it is formed. In a study of dogs, researchers found that daily feeding of a dental food significantly reduced plaque accumulation and gingivitis by 39% and 36%, respectively, compared with daily feeding of a typical dry food.

Another way that dry dog food can contribute to the health of your dog's teeth is by increasing saliva production. Saliva helps to protect the teeth and gums from harmful bacteria, and it also helps to rinse away the plaque that has already accumulated on the teeth.

You can increase your dog's saliva production with the addition of supplements to its diet. Some of the most popular natural and healthy supplements include folic acid, glucosamine sulfate, vitamin C, and minerals like calcium and magnesium.

These nutrients are especially important for the health of your dog's teeth and gums because they support your dog's immune system and protect them from damage caused by infections and disease. Coenzyme Q10, which is found in fatty fish and organ meats, has been shown to support the health of your dog's gums as well.

Aside from adding these supplements to your dog's diet, you can also give them natural dental treats that help to dislodge plaque and spread protective saliva. These include rawhide bones, pig's ears, and dental chews.

It Helps Prevent Tartar Buildup

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Dry dog food is made from a mix of different ingredients, and each brand has its unique processes for creating kibble.

Many of the raw ingredients used in dog food are sourced from farms or ranches, and then processed. They include byproducts from meat, poultry, fish, and feed grains, as well as soybean meal.

When a manufacturer takes these ingredients and grinds them up, they can add other nutrients as supplements to create a balanced diet. This can range from a small amount of extra protein to extra vitamins and minerals, to extra carbohydrates or fat.

Some dry food manufacturers also add a slurry of dehydrated bone meal and other natural ingredients to their formulas for additional nutrition. The slurry can help to lubricate the teeth while they chew, and can prevent tartar buildup in some cases.

If your dog has a dental problem, you may consider switching to a specialized dry dog food that has been designed for their oral health needs. These specialized diets usually come in larger kibble shapes and have a rough texture that encourages dogs to chew, helping them to scrape away plaque.

Another option is to offer your dog a vet-approved dental chew several times per day. These dental chews are large and have an airy, fibrous texture that breaks apart when your dog chews them. They can help to scrub away plaque and prevent tartar buildup by removing bacteria that cause oral infections.

Lastly, you can give your dog a water-soluble oral care supplement to help kill the plaque-forming bacteria in their mouth. These supplements typically contain mutase and dextranase enzymes that break down the plaque biofilm in your pet's mouth.

The condition of your dog's teeth can indicate the overall health of their body, so it's important to take their teeth into account when making any other dietary changes or decisions for them. Whether you choose to feed a specialized diet or not, it's still important to brush your dog's teeth at least a few times a week and make sure to remove any tartar as soon as it appears.

It Helps Maintain Healthy Teeth

Dry dog food can be a great option for many pet owners. It's convenient, shelf-stable, and easy to pre-portion. Compared to wet dog foods, they can also be less expensive to purchase and store long-term.

Dry kibble has a lot of chewy friction that helps to break down plaque and tartar on your dog's teeth. Studies have shown that dogs who eat dry kibble are more likely to avoid dental disease than those that eat wet kibble.

However, dry kibbles often don't get a chance to chew enough, leaving bits of leftover food and crumbs on your dog's teeth. This is a big contributor to plaque and gum disease.

To prevent your dog from developing a bad mouth, you should switch to a high-quality raw diet that is rich in bones and meat. These foods are naturally rich in enzymes that promote healthy teeth and gums and help to prevent tartar and plaque buildup.

It's important to choose raw dog food that doesn't contain any added sugars, corn, wheat, or artificial ingredients. These can contribute to inflammation in the body, which leads to a host of other health issues.

You should consider adding probiotics to your dog's diet as well. Probiotics are beneficial for oral health because they can help to keep your dog's microbiome balanced and support its natural immune system. They also help to reduce oxidative stress which can lead to the development of periodontal disease.

Aside from adding probiotics, you should also feed your dog food that is high in antioxidants. Berries and green leafy vegetables are great sources of antioxidants that can protect your dog's teeth and gums.

Kelp is another superfood that can improve your dog's dental health. It boosts amylase production, one of the enzymes necessary to break down carbohydrates and fiber in your dog's saliva.

When it comes to dry dog foods, you should look for those that have passed rigorous standards by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). These include Hill's Science Diet Prescription Diet Dental Care and Merrick Lil' Plates.


A high-quality dry dog food may help to reduce the amount of plaque that your dog develops over time. Studies have shown that dry food with specific dental ingredients can help to decrease the amount of plaque that accumulates on your dog’s teeth and reduces inflammation of the gums. In a study of dogs, researchers found that daily feeding of a dental food significantly reduced plaque accumulation and gingivitis by 39% and 36%, respectively, compared with daily feeding of a typical dry food.



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