Dog Teeth Brushing Or Dental Chews: Which Is Better For Dog Dental Health?

Jan 3, 2024

Doggy kisses are the best, but not so much when their breath is stinky. But worse, stinky dog breath and dirty dog teeth are signs of poor dental health in dogs. As more science supports that good oral health is important for good overall health, we want to know the best ways to take care of our best friends’ mouths. So, is the trusty toothbrush better than today’s nutritional supplements and dental chews for dogs? Is it better to brush your dog’s teeth or give them supplements for dental health? Or, is there more to it?

The Brushing Baseline: More Than Just Scratching the Surface

We’ve been told time and again: brush, brush, brush. And for good reason! Brushing your dog’s teeth with dedication can roll back tartar and plaque by an impressive 25-30% when performed with frequency and care. It’s an act of love, manually dislodging those pesky plaque particles and thwarting tartar in its tracks.

The Silent Warriors: Supplements Working Wonders from Within

And then…we have dog dental chews and dog dental treats – often terms used interchangeably, with some having additional ingredients designed to do more than just be a treat. They’re not just a passing fad, either; they’re backed by an ever-growing body of research attesting to their benefits. Dog dental chews, like our Charming Chompers, mostly work by the physics of the dog using the chew as a slightly abrasive surface to scrape against plaque buildup. We add ingredients that help your dog’s gut health, too. From probiotics that balance the oral microbiome to fibers that help “sweep” the digestive tract clean, these ingredients pack a punch against dental disease in dogs, but also better overall immunity and health.

For instance, prebiotics like inulin foster a friendly gut environment, which is linked to oral health. Meanwhile, antioxidants found in green tea extract and blueberries wage war against oxidative stress, which can also affect your pup’s gums. And, if your dog will be chewing on something as a treat anyway, why not make it a tasty one that does good for possibly helping prevent dental disease?

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Or Giving Dental Chews?An English Cream Golden Retriever is about to get his teeth brushed

So let’s just be real. Brushing our dog’s teeth often takes work, and giving them dog dental treats or chews and calling it a day is easier. That said, when we rely solely on dental treats or dog dental chews, it’s important that they’re not just full of filler ingredients. Some dental chews and treats for dogs (even ones with the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval) have ingredients that are…well, they’re not what we were looking to give our dogs or yours when we decided to create Bernie’s Charming Chompers. And, if the question is whether one is better than the other for keeping our dog’s teeth clean and their oral health the best it can be, the answer isn’t directly favored either way.

Sure, brushing your dog’s teeth is always going to be better for them than not brushing your dog’s teeth. Any dentist would tell you the same. They’d tell you that not using toothpaste but still brushing and using back and forth motion with bristles will help reduce tartar buildup and plaque buildup and keep your mouth cleaner and healthier.

And, like we said, there’s lots of research about dog dental chews and dog dental treats being good for oral health and more. Any time you give a dog a dental chew or treat that uses physics to reduce tartar buildup and plaque abrasively, you’re doing your dog’s mouth and teeth a favor for their teeth, but not necessarily for their gut.

The Evidence: Bites of Wisdom from Recent Research

At Bernie’s Best, we focus on current science and innovation. There’s plenty that shows that brushing your dog’s teeth or giving your dog dental chews will help their oral microbiome, but we are always looking to go deeper. We wanted to give our Bernie and Lady the best oral health and gut health.

Current research that looked at ingredients that did both is what we looked for and we found ingredients like aged garlic extract and lactic acid supplements as potential game-changers in preventing and managing gum disease​​​​ in dogs. Probiotics and lactic acid supplements have been studied for their role in mitigating dental plaque and gingivitis, common conditions veterinarians encounter in dogs​​.

Contrary to some other popular dental chews, we chose ingredients like miscanthus and pumpkin because they are not just fillers; they play a part in dental health by promoting better digestion and possibly influencing the oral microbiome.

And when you combine all those ingredients (and more) into a chew that will likely pare tartar and plaque down by about 20%, you’ve got a pretty powerful dog dental helper! A side bonus for your dog is that it tastes great too!

Tooth Brushing and Dog Dental Chews: The Dynamic Dental Duo

So, do we ditch the brush in favor of a dental-dental-chew-a-day strategy to keep the doggy dentist away? Not at all. Brushing remains the cornerstone of oral hygiene—vets will tell you there’s no substitute for the purposed and specific mechanical removal of plaque. That said, dental chews offer a systemic approach that makes it easy to work and remove plaque and tartar while also contributing to your dog’s mouth microbiome and overall gut health. 

And that’s what we wanted Bernie’s Charming Chompers to be. We sought to design a dental chew that was tough enough to scrape away at tartar and plaque while still being safe and digestible-plus have some healthy ingredient additions as a bonus! And we wanted it to be easy for you to give and delicious for your dog to eat and digest.

Some studies across several brands show that vegetable-based chews made in compression injection molds, like the ones Chompers are formed in, help reduce tartar and keep dogs’ mouths healthier between vet visits. They showed 100% digestibility after 24 hours, and in each chew, we put so many ingredients that are good for your dog’s mouth and gut.

The Bottom Line: Embracing a Holistic Approach To Dog Dental HealthA fluffy mutt dog is getting his teeth brushed

To bring about the best dog dental health truly, we advocate for a two-pronged approach: consistent, thorough brushing combined with scientifically supported ingredients in dental chews. This holistic strategy doesn’t just fight the good fight against dental dilemmas; it also nurtures an environment where oral health can truly thrive from the inside out. That’s what we’re all about at Bernie’s Best–your dogs being the healthiest so they can have the happiest lives!


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