Daily tooth brushing is the gold standard to prevent accumulation of plaque and calculus. But don’t feel guilty if your clients are not brushing their dogs’ teeth—or if you don’t brush your own dog’s teeth. You join 98 percent of folks who cannot figure out an easy, fun way to brush their pets’ teeth, even though they embrace the importance of toothbrushing. Caring pet owners have chosen chews as a way to keep their dog’s mouth healthy. What makes a good chew and how do you advise clients on which chew to feed to their best four-legged friend?
Safety is a primary concern of both clients and veterinarians. Many products that claim mechanical plaque and calculus control are unfortunately so hard that chewing can result in tooth fracture with pulp exposure or create a gastrointestinal obstruction. As veterinary professionals, we must advise against feeding bones, nylon chews, antlers, or any product that does not easily bend, compress, or dissolve when placed in a fluid environment. Additionally, other parameters must be considered, including stiffness and surface abrasiveness. Each of these contributes to the product’s efficacy when chewed.
Products that claim to control plaque through chemical means must also be safe from a medical standpoint for the dog or cat to ingest. Excessive protein, preservatives, and ingredients such as grain alcohol and arsenic (as a preservative) in dental treats may cause injury. Digestibility (product solubility) is also important to consider. Dog treats that are swallowed whole, or in part, should degrade rapidly in the canine digestive system to prevent dangerous blockage.
Mechanical products prevent accumulation of plaque and tartar by scouring the teeth. That’s good for the teeth that the chews touch but does nothing for the teeth that don’t come in contact with them. Chews that work chemically decrease the attachment of plaque to the teeth but to work better need some mechanical action.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a product that works mechanically and chemically, and that dogs love to chew? Bark-Bright® is just the answer. It works by combining an enzymatic toothpaste with a scrubbing dental chew that reduces plaque. It uses both mechanical and chemical actions to break down plaque and tartar in a dog’s mouth.
Bark Bright’s toothpaste contains three active enzymes: amyloglucosidase (AMG), glucose oxidase (GOX), and lactoperoxidase. Together, they break up harmful microbes and help clean teeth. These three enzymes support the healthy anti-microbial processes already happening in the dog’s mouth, but with a much greater level of enzyme activity.
How do these enzymes work? Amyloglucosidase (we’ll call it AMG from now on) breaks down oligosaccharides in dogs’ mouths, such as complex sugars, and turns them into glucose, a simple sugar.
Glucoseoxidase, or GOX, turns glucose into hydrogen peroxide, a natural and safe cleaning agent. All of that sugar produced by AMG, plus the glucose that was already in a pet’s mouth from food and the enzymes in saliva, is converted into an effective and dog-safe cleaning agent.
Lactoperoxidase is a catalyst of reactions involving hydrogen peroxide in the body, and it’s already produced by dog’s salivary glands. It also helps several other compounds that are already present in a dog’s saliva as part of the immune system, such as hypothiocyanite (a strong antibacterial agent that a dog’s body already produces).
Clients use Bright Dental by applying the toothpaste to the dental chew before giving it to their dog. The dental chew will scrub the plaque buildup on the dog’s teeth, exposing more surface area for enzymes to work in the dog’s mouth.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council reviews dental products for their efficacy in retarding plaque and tartar. Bright Dental chews and toothpaste are currently in the midst of trials to earn VOHC certification.
Together, the Bright Dental enzymatic toothpaste and dental chews are an easy, Fear-Free, delicious daily treat for dogs to decrease accumulation of plaque. Win-win-win all around!
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