Your dog’s dental health can determine the health of his overall body. Yet, it is often overlooked, wreaking havoc on not only your pup’s mouth but also his body.
Indeed, dental disease is the most common medical issue in our dogs today. Also called periodontal disease, it happens when bacterial forms plaque on the teeth, which hardens into tarter. The longer it remains, the more bacteria seeps into the body, triggering the immune system and causing a chain reaction that eventually leads to gingivitis and periodontitis, which are respectively inflammation of the gums and loss of bone and tissue around the teeth.
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The result is bad breath, swollen gums, loose teeth, difficulty chewing and a painful mouth. And unfortunately, if left untreated the bacteria can travel to organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys and cause damage.
It’s scary, but it is also preventable. A strong dental routine, including a combination of brushing your dog’s teeth, dental chews, dental powder and good nutrition will help keep your pup’s chompers in tip-top shape.
While some of the ingredients in these products can be questionable, there are dental products on the market, including our Bye, Bye Dog Breath dental line, that use natural ingredients to target plaque, support healthy gums and freshen breath.
Here are some powerful natural ingredients that can provide your dog a healthy smile.
A powerful antioxidant, cranberry protects the mouth by interfering with the formation of plaque. A University of Rochester report called cranberry like “Teflon® for teeth.” It inhibits the enzymes that build up into the substance plaque and preventing additional bacteria from forming.
Minerals found in yucca (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese) help maintain bone density and build and fortify the gums around the bones and the teeth. Yucca is one of the best desert plants with antibacterial properties, “selectively inhibiting some bacteria.”
This microscopic algae contains one of the highest concentration of nutrients of any food, grain, plant or herb. It contains all of the essential amino acids, as well as phycocyanin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also among the most chlorophyll-rich foods, helping to remove toxins and improve the immune system. “Chlorophyll does offer health benefits, especially to dogs….One of the most important ways that our pets benefit from chlorophyll is that it both treats and prevents bad breath from the inside out,” says veterinarian Liz Hanson in Healthline.
This herb is powered with antibacterial agents, antioxidants and phytonutrients. It’s a great breath freshener due to its antimicrobial properties, which kill microorganisms that make the breath stinky. It’s also loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins, including A, C, B1, B2, and K, and trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. (Note: pregnant dogs should not be fed parsley as it may stimulate the uterus.)
It’s sounds sci-fi, and these minerals are anything but. Zeolites are minerals that consist of a solid but open crystalline structure occurring naturally in volcanic and sedimentary rock. The open structure has the ability to trap other molecules inside it, such as bacteria, while its three-dimensional shape acts as a gentle abrasion on the surface of your dog’s teeth, removing plaque.
Related: How to Stop Bad Dog Breath
In small amounts, cinnamon (particularly ceylon cinnamon) is a powerful, antioxidant-rich, antibacterial that can help fight tooth decay and bad breath. Researchers have determined that cinnamon protects against harmful bacteria living in the mouth that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and infections.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria.
There are protective and harmful bacteria in the mouth; tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in the mouth becomes unbalanced, and the harmful bacteria begins damaging the teeth. Probiotics balances the bacteria level, protecting the teeth by keeping the destructive bacteria in check.
One of the most effective elements in dental health, zinc helps reduce the “demineralization” of teeth, which helps reduce tooth decay. It also prevents the growth of bacteria and the build-up of plaque along the gum line that cause periodontal disease. It also contains antibacterial agents to help decrease plaque formation and bad breath.
A powerful weapon against gingivitis, studies have shown that mushrooms kill harmful bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis while leaving the good bacteria intact.