Enzymatic Toothpaste For Dogs: What Are They?

Feb 11, 2024

Enzymatic toothpaste for dogs is on everyone’s radar for a good reason.  It’s not just about fighting off bad breath—it’s also key in tackling plaque and tartar. Most human toothpastes contain ingredients that aren’t ideal for dog’s dental health. Enzymatic toothpaste can make a great dog-safe alternative. But dog oral health is about more than toothpaste alone.

The jury’s still out on the overall effectiveness of enzymatic toothpaste by itself, so we recommend following up with some good old-fashioned abrasion. Enzymatic toothpaste can support the mouth microbiome, and a dental chew for dogs that also works on gut dog gut health can go the extra mile to support dogs from the inside out.

What Are Enzymes For A Dog’s Teeth?

First things first. Before we talk about enzymatic toothpaste for dogs, you need to know what enzymes even are. In a few words, they’re basically molecules that speed up chemical reactions in cellular function. They’re super important for digestion and metabolism, and especially within the context of enzymatic toothpaste for dogs, they work specifically to break down substances on the teeth. How do they do this? In a couple of different ways, actually.

When it comes to breaking down plaque buildup and tartar buildup on a dog’s teeth, the saliva and the materials in your dog’s mouth break down plaque and can help prevent tartar formation. Plaque is that sticky icky that gets left on teeth when harmful bacteria grow, and tartar is hardened plaque that has been left on the teeth and can cause gum disease.

Additionally, some enzymes have antibacterial properties, which means they can help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your dog’s mouth. This helps keep the teeth and gums healthy and contributes to better breath–fewer stinky kisses from your best friend. This can also help your dog’s gut, as fewer harmful bacteria means less of a battle for balance in the digestive process.

What Is Enzymatic Toothpaste For Dogs?Photo: A man brushes a french bulldogs teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste for dogs.

Enzymatic toothpaste for dogs is designed to be toothpaste that enhances your dog’s oral hygiene routine. It contains active enzymes that react with glucose (think sugars) and oxygen in your dog’s mouth to produce hydrogen peroxide. When this chemical reaction happens, the toothpaste helps break down plaque and tartar buildup. It’s often used with a toothbrush for dogs that you’ll manually scrub their teeth with–that ‘mechanical’ scrubbing physically scrapes plaque and tartar, too. But often, enzymatic toothpaste for dogs will advertise that there is no need for actual brushing to gain the cleaning effects for your dog’s teeth because of the chemical reaction in their mouth.

Why else do people use it? Because regular toothpaste for humans isn’t safe for dogs. Human toothpaste often contains fluoride and xylitol, which are toxic to dogs. Highly toxic. Enzymatic toothpaste, on the other hand, is formulated to be safe if swallowed and comes in flavors dogs want to eat, like poultry or beef, making the brushing experience less stressful for both you and your dog. Let’s face it: if brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t sound like super fun, you’re probably looking for whatever product you can find to make it easier, and that includes enzymatic toothpaste.

The most popular ingredients you might find in enzymatic toothpaste include:

  • Glucose Oxidase: This enzyme helps reduce bacteria, which then lessens plaque formation on their teeth. It’s derived from the fungus Aspergillus niger and works by converting glucose found in chewed food and other stuff in their mouth into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide produced by this reaction has a mild antiseptic property and can help kill bacteria and clean their teeth and gums.
  • Lactoperoxidase: This works together with glucose oxidase to produce antibacterial substances, further improving your dog’s oral hygiene and keeping their breath fresher and mouth and teeth cleaner.
  • Sorbitol: A sweetener that makes toothpaste palatable for dogs without being harmful, like xylitol. It’s REALLY important to pay attention to ingredients–sweeteners like sorbitol, erythritol and maltitol (generally regarded as safe for dogs) can easily be confused with xylitol (which is NOT safe).
  • Dicalcium Phosphate: A mild abrasive that helps remove plaque mechanically.

Using enzymatic toothpaste for dogs is often considered a preventative way to stay on top of your dog’s dental health. It can reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. It can help ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from the complications associated with poor oral hygiene, such as heart, liver, and kidney problems linked to dental diseases.

Something to note about enzymatic toothpaste is the fact that dogs can’t rinse and spit like humans do after brushing. Enzymatic toothpastes are designed to be swallowed safely by dogs, but that also means they go through the digestive process in dogs. If you’re using dog enzymatic toothpaste, you want to be sure it will also enhance your dog’s gut. Enzymatic toothpaste works within chemical reactions in your dog’s mouth, while brushing works physically to remove plaque buildup and tartar buildup.

Plaque, Tartar, and Bad Breath In DogsPhoto: A dog looks sad at a toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste for dogs.

Plaque and tartar buildup are typically the main culprits behind stinky dog breath and periodontal disease. They’re signs of oral health problems that can have bigger implications for your dog’s overall well-being because dog oral health and overall health are intricately connected.

Enzymatic toothpaste is often a go-to for breaking down these culprits without having to deal with the possible nightmare of trying to brush your dog’s teeth. However, vets will typically always recommend brushing your dog’s teeth over an enzymatic toothpaste for effectiveness. Enzymatic toothpaste for dogs does a decent job working on the front lines of your dog’s oral health. The thing is, though, it doesn’t do much physically to remove plaque and tartar, and it doesn’t do anything for the rest of your dog’s digestive tract or overall health.

Bernie’s Charming Chompers: Going The Extra Mile For Dog Oral Health

Enzymatic toothpastes for dogs focus on a chemical reaction in your dog’s mouth, and that’s where the work pretty much stops. When we created Bernie’s Charming Chompers, we wanted to go the extra mile by promoting dog gut health, too. It’s an often overlooked aspect of oral hygiene for dogs, and we were creating something to help our own dogs have the best health overall.

Think about it: good gut health is linked to a well-functioning immune system, better mood, energy levels, and, yes, even oral health. Bernie’s Charming Chompers are loaded with fibers, prebiotics, and postbiotics to help create a balanced environment in your dog’s gut. This balance is essential, considering that many oral health issues originate from further down the digestive tract.

You see, the bacteria that live in your dog’s mouth don’t always stay there. Some can travel into the gut, disrupting the microbiome’s balance. This community of microbes is super important for your dog’s overall health. An imbalance can lead to issues like inflammation and diseases in the gut and potentially in other parts of your dog’s body.

The oral microbiome is your dog’s first line of defense against potentially harmful viruses and bacteria. Maintaining a balanced oral microbiome is essential for supporting the immune system effectively.

And since dog gut health is closely tied to their body’s overall function, including digestion, nutrient absorption, and the immune system, helping strengthen your dog’s gut is always a win. The gut’s health can influence inflammation throughout the body, including the mouth, which can lead to dog periodontal disease.

Our dental chews are made with a healthy base of sweet potato and real turkey and include dog-friendly superfood favorites like pumpkin, yogurt, and blueberries. These ingredients aren’t just tasty; they pack a punch in terms of nutritional benefits that support a healthy gut, which in turn, supports healthy teeth and gums.

Giving your dog Charming Chompers each day makes the best of all the oral hygiene situations, as the science suggests! The mechanical scraping of plaque buildup and tartar buildup happens as your dog chews, and the good gut health ingredients can also help oral health from the inside out.

So, while enzymatic dog toothpaste can be okay if that’s what you’re using to brush your dog’s teeth, consider giving your dog something that also supports their gut health. A healthy dog gut can be a secret weapon against not only oral health issues, but other physical conditions as well, and Charming Chompers can be your dog’s first line of delicious defense!

Sign up now to receive the latest updates via email.