Protecting your dog’s teeth is very important. Periodontal disease is a prevalent issue among canines, impacting at least 80 percent of dogs over the age of three. The disease begins with gingivitis, characterized by red, inflamed gums that may bleed.
If untreated, the condition escalates to periodontitis, leading to progressive alveolar bone damage and potential tooth loss, while also increasing the risk of cardiovascular and lung diseases.
With poor oral hygiene identified as a principal cause of periodontal disease, leading to plaque and tartar build-up, regular teeth brushing for dogs is advised by veterinarians.
However, many people do not comply with this advice, often because their dogs will not cooperate.
Dr. Jerzy Gawor is a veterinary dentistry practitioner and researcher at the Arka Veterinary Clinic in Krakow, Poland, and lead author of a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.
“Here we show that an additive to drinking water, based on pomegranate extract, can reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar in dogs,” said Dr. Gawor. “This additive thus helps dogs to maintain healthy gums, and may ultimately help to limit the occurrence of periodontal disease.”
The researchers examined Vet Aquadent® FR3SH™ – an over-the-counter oral hygiene product developed by French veterinary company Virbac.
“We did this study after obtaining evidence that the main ingredient, pomegranate extract, limits the growth of oral bacteria in dogs in vitro, including species involved in periodontal disease,” said study co-author Dr. Celine Nicolas, an employee of Virbac.
“There was also evidence that the other components, inulin and erythritol, likewise play a role in the maintenance of a healthy oral microbiome in dogs.”
The product, which can be easily added to dogs’ drinking water, was tested on 40 dogs representing 14 breeds. All subjects had mild to moderate gingivitis but were otherwise healthy.
The dogs were monitored over 30 days after a professional dental cleaning session. The research involved thorough oral health assessments, dental charting, and mouth radiography under general anesthesia.
Dogs were then divided into two groups: one receiving water with a 1% solution of Vet Aquadent® FR3SH™ daily, and the other receiving plain water. During the study, no other oral hygiene practices were implemented.
After 30 days, dogs receiving the pomegranate extract additive had a 47 percent reduction in plaque and a 24 percent decrease in tartar. Furthermore, the gums of dogs in the treatment group were completely healthy.
“The results showed that 30 days after the dental cleaning and polishing, dogs which had received the additive daily scored 47% lower for the amount of plaque, and had a 24% lower score for the amount of tartar, compared to dogs in the control group. The gum was also completely healthy in the active treatment group,” wrote the study authors.
The study thus affirmed that the additive effectively limits plaque and tartar reformation post professional dental cleaning.
Dr. Gawor and team suggest that the product works by restricting the growth of harmful bacteria, especially preventing bacterial biofilms formation.
“Daily oral hygiene and prophylaxis are essential to prevent periodontal diseases in dogs. This includes active methods like brushing, passive methods like dental chews or water additives, or a combination, as well as regular clinical dental checks,” said Dr. Gawor.
“The frequency of the latter should depend on the dog’s age, breed, size, and predisposition, as determined by veterinary clinicians.”
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