The Role Of Probiotics For Dog Oral Health

Mar 9, 2024

Oral health is a big deal for dogs, just like it is for us. Think about it – issues like bad breath, plaque, and gum disease can lead to serious problems down the line, not just for their teeth but their overall health, too. But there’s good news. Probiotics are stepping into the spotlight for dog oral health. They’re not just for digestion anymore; they’re showing promise in keeping dogs’ mouths healthy by fighting off the bad bacteria that cause those problems.

Oral health issues in dogs, such as plaque, tartar, and gingivitis, are more common than you might think. These pesky problems can lead to more serious conditions like periodontal disease, which doesn’t just affect their teeth and gums but can have ramifications on their overall well-being. Probiotics for dogs can do wonders for their digestive health, but science continues to show their positive role on a dog’s oral health too. Probiotics for dogs enhance their oral microbiome because they help balance friendly bacteria in the mouth, warding off many harmful bacteria that are behind a lot of dog oral health issues.

What Are Dental Plaque And Dental Tartar?Photo: A vet smiles at the healthy teeth of a Golden Retriever.

In your dog’s mouth, dental plaque is a sticky, filmy substance that forms on their teeth. It’s made up of food particles, saliva, and bacteria. Dental plaque buildup is the primary stage of dental concerns for your dog and you really can’t see it initially. But, if you don’t work to prevent it and address it, it can harden into tartar, which is also known as calculus, within a matter of days. Tartar is a tougher substance that strongly sticks to the teeth near the gumline and is much more challenging to remove. It’s typically brown or yellowish in color and you can see it.

Both dental plaque and tartar are significant to your dog’s oral health because they harbor bacteria that can lead to gingivitis—a painful inflammation of the gums. If not addressed, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, a serious infection that can damage the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss.

What Is Periodontal Disease In Dogs?

Periodontal disease in dogs is common. Still, it’s a serious condition that affects the structures surrounding their teeth—the gums and jaw bones. The earliest stage of this disease is known as gingivitis, and is characterized by gum inflammation. If left untreated, the condition gets worse, eventually affecting the bone and leading to tooth loosening or loss.

This disease typically goes unnoticed in its initial stages due to the lack of visible symptoms. As we said, you can’t really see plaque, even though it’s the primary cause of periodontal disease in dogs. As the plaque hardens and turns into tartar, it just makes it easier for more plaque to accumulate. Your dog’s body responds with an inflammatory response, but the inflammation and subsequent damage to the periodontal tissues can lead to tooth loss and other health issues.

There are four stages of periodontal disease in dogs. The four stages range from mild (Stage 1) to severe (Stage 4), with increasing severity of symptoms such as gum recession, tooth mobility, and bone loss. Stage 1, gingivitis, is the only reversible stage with proper dental care. After that, while stages 2 and 3 can typically be managed and progression may be able to be stopped, the damage incurred is not reversible. Stage 4 is the most advanced, where significant bone loss and tooth extraction may be necessary. This is why having an oral routine for dogs should start when they are young, typically around six months and after puppy teeth have fallen out.

Your dog may show behavioral changes like hesitancy to chew, pawing at their mouth, or changes in eating habits if they’re dealing with periodontal disease. The problem is that these signs typically mean the disease has already progressed to a more advanced stage. Early prevention and detection is crucial for managing the disease effectively.

What Do Probiotics Do For A Dog’s Oral Health?

We’ve known for a while how important probiotics are to a dog’s gut health, but probiotics for dogs have become increasingly recognized for their potential to improve their oral health, too, specifically in the prevention of periodontal disease in dogs. Probiotics can help by creating a balanced oral microbiome, which is crucial for maintaining good dental health. They compete with harmful bacteria, alter the pH of your dog’s mouth, and support the immune system, all of which can reduce the inflammation contributing to gingivitis and periodontitis. Studies suggest that products containing probiotics, along with other active agents, show positive effects in preventing periodontal diseases in dogs. It’s important to select a probiotic product that has scientific backing showing it contains the appropriate bacterial strains that can colonize the dog’s oral environment effectively.

And let’s not discount how the better gut health of a dog due to probiotics also plays into better oral health for them as well.

The relationship between gut health and oral health in dogs is an example of how bodily systems function together and where improvement in one area can benefit another. The probiotics that contribute to a balanced gut microbiome can have a knock-off effect on oral health. A well-functioning digestive system supports the immune system, which is crucial in managing inflammation and infections throughout the body, including the mouth. A healthy gut can also slow down the overgrowth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria that could otherwise colonize their mouth and bring imbalance. Science regularly confirms the systemic benefits of probiotics. Because of this, they’re also likely to contribute to a dog’s overall health, including oral health, by ensuring an optimal immune response and limiting inflammatory processes.

Bernie’s Charming Chompers: A New Approach To Dental Health For DogsAn old Corgi smiles sticking its tongue out for the camera.

Regular dental hygiene practices for dogs, such as brushing, offering dental chews, and routine veterinary cleanings, can help manage plaque and prevent the formation of tartar and reduce the risk of oral diseases.

But when it came to our dogs, Bernie and Lady, we didn’t want just any dog dental chew. We wanted something that would work mechanically to scrape the plaque and tartar off, but we also wanted the ingredients to be good for their gut and their mouth. We knew we needed to do better when we looked at the ingredients in many popular dog dental chews.

And so we did.

Charming Chompers go much further than just keeping your dog’s teeth clean and helping freshen breath. We chose ingredients that helped both oral and gut health. We included fiber to help scrape away at plaque, while also helping regulate digestive health. We knew that in addition to being delicious, real turkey could help maintain muscle mass in our dogs’ jaws to make sure they could chew adequately and thoroughly for the best nutrient absorption. We included blueberries for their antioxidant goodness, and their natural ability to help clean plaque. Of course, the prebiotic inclusion helped feed all the important probiotics for oral health, better digestion, and stronger immunity.

When all is said and done, it’s all about making sure whatever we give them gets to the root of any problem. When it comes to a healthy mouth for our dogs, Charming Chompers are the easiest and most delicious way to supplement their dental care, and help take care of them from the inside out.

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