Dental Health Myths and Facts
Myth: “dog-breath” is normal.
Fact: A healthy mouth and digestive system should not result in bad breath. Unpleasant odours can be the result of infection within the mouth, or potentially issues lower into the digestive tract.
Myth: My dog is still eating, so they must not be in pain.
Fact: Dogs often have high pain thresholds, and the drive to survive (ie eating) is very high. If a dog is in so much pain that they won’t eat, that would be a very advanced issue.
Myth: Dogs need to eat dry kibble so their teeth can be cleaned.
Fact: Kibble does not offer an all-around tooth brushing effect, and can in fact cause more build-up. It may scrape off some plaque but won't get to the important gum line, and more importantly, because of the high carbs, it will cause more tartar buildup, eventually turning into plaque. [source]
Think of brushing your teeth with chips.
What about dental-specific kibble?
Many kibble varieties claim to be clinically proven reduce plaque and tartar, but do not specify in relation to what. Sure, compared to other kibbles this may be true, but not in relation to lower processed food. For example, in the Hills dental diet the first two ingredients are rice and corn, which naturally stick to teeth and can cause even more tartar compared to a raw diet.
Myth: Greenies and Raw Hides are good ways to clean my dog’s teeth
Fact: while these products may scrape tartar, the nutritional downsides make them less than ideal.
Greenies first 5 ingredients are all starches: Wheat flour, wheat gluten, glycerin, gelatin, oat fiber.
Rawhides are processed using dangerous chemicals, and use artificial scents and dyes to make them palatable.
Alternatives would be single-ingredient options like dehydrated pig skins, ears, and bully sticks.