Edible dental chews are an easy, delicious way to support oral health. However, not all dental chews are created equal, some being more effective than others.
The texture of a dental chew is very important in determining its effectiveness. Chews should be malleable and not brittle, while remaining dense enough to last while being chewed. The texture and size should allow for the teeth to sink deep into the chew causing it to push on the gums, stimulating the gingivae. This is what keeps the structures of the mouth healthy to fight against periodontal disease. Hard, brittle chews do not offer this benefit, only offering the benefit of saliva production like dry kibble. It is recommended to offer edible dental chews separate from regular meals (a few hours apart) to ensure they do not alter digestion of essential nutrients.
Raw bones are also beneficial for oral health. Raw bones are softer than smoked bones, so they offer more gum stimulation, plus they have natural enzymes and probiotics that help to clean the mouth and support a healthy microflora population.
Non-edible dental toys are an alternative to edible dental chews. These products do not contribute calories, so they are a good choice for pets on a weight management program. They also last much longer, which may provide added benefits. Soft rubber that teeth can sink into or bristle-like protrusions on the toy can provide adequate stimulation of the gums.
Food and water additives are also available to help maintain oral health for your pets. For best results with these products, they should be used in addition to one or more of the other methods for teeth cleaning since they do not provide any mechanical stimulation of gums or physical scrubbing of teeth.
Food and water additives work better than a dental diet because the active ingredients do not interfere with the delivery of essential nutrients while still serving their purpose. Active ingredients could include anti-inflammatories, antibacterial or antifungal substances, enzymes, probiotics or immune-boosting and wound-healing ingredients.
There are many oral care products available and a number of different strategies to improve dental health. To help you decide which strategy and products are the right choice for your pet, visit your local Global Pet Foods store and speak with one of our knowledgeable Pet Care Specialists.