Let’s go back to the beginning. Food + Bacteria make plaque. Plaque that doesn’t get brushed away makes Tartar. Tartar below the gum line causes inflammation, gum disease, tooth loss, and infections. There are over 700 species of bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Most people are aware of the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your digestive tract, but not nearly so many are aware of the same balance in yours and your dog’s mouth. That bad or funny taste in your mouth and the film that’s on your teeth when you wake up in the morning is caused by plaque. If it is not effectively removed, some of the bacteria become calcified by the calcium in your pet’s saliva when it dies and the calcified plaque becomes tartar. Tartar is extremely hard and has microscopically small, sharp edges which cause irritation and inflammation of the gums which ultimately destroys the tissue around teeth which can make teeth lose and leads to the loss of the tooth.

As the tissue around your dog’s teeth is destroyed, “bad” bacteria enters your pet’s bloodstream, moves to other parts of your body, and causes or contributes to problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Very little of this is easy to understand- except for one thing: NOTHING good comes from poor dental hygiene. Having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a qualified veterinary professional is the best way to promote dental health. That does not minimize the importance of pet owners doing everything they can to keep their pet’s teeth clean. Talk to your vet. A thorough dental evaluation should be part of every pet’s yearly checkup.