Proper dental care for your dog plays an important part in his overall health. Aside from the unpleasant breath associated with a dog's neglected teeth, the accumulation of plaque can cause a host of problems such as inflammation and pain, gum infections, tooth loss and infections that can spread to internal organs. Enzymatic toothpaste for dogs uses enzymes that convert to antimicrobial compounds that reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent or lessen tartar buildup.
Enzymatic toothpaste may consist of one chemical, glucose oxidase (GOx) or a combination of GOx and lactoperoxidase (LPO). Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that kills bacteria by converting to hydrogen peroxide in the mouth. LPO is a peroxidase enzyme derived from milk. The hydrogen peroxide produced by the GOx activates the enzymes in LPO. This reduction of microorganisms in the mouth help cut down on the buildup of tartar.
Veterinarians Joseph and Colleen Koch of the Lincoln Land Animal Clinic, Ltd. in Jacksonville, Illinois, recommend removal of plaque from your dog's teeth through daily brushing. Every month, examine your dog's teeth for any tartar accumulation. If there is any visible plaque buildup, it is time to take your dog to a veterinarian for a thorough, professional cleaning. Frequent teeth brushings at home will cut down considerably the number of times your dog will need a professional cleaning.
Enjoying the taste of his toothpaste is key to a successful dental hygiene regimen for your dog. Enzymatic toothpaste comes in different flavors your dog will more than likely find palatable. CET enzymatic toothpaste by Virbac, Inc. comes in three flavors: Poultry, vanilla-mint and malt. The single-enzymatic toothpaste Petrodex is available in beef and poultry flavors.
Unlike toothpaste intended for humans, enzymatic toothpaste for dogs does not need to be rinsed and is safe to swallow. Other ingredients include polishing agents such as hydrated silica and dicalcium phosphate anyhydrous (DCPA) as well as humectants such as sorbitol and glycerin. Humectants help prevent the toothpaste from separating in the mouth, maintaining its paste-like consistency.
You may balk at the thought of brushing your dog's teeth, thinking it may prove too difficult. Most dogs, given time to acclimate to the procedure, will learn to associate this ritual with the pleasant taste of the toothpaste and will get excited to see you appear with toothbrush in hand. Always use a toothbrush specifically designed for use on dogs when brushing your dog's teeth. Before you begin a dental care program for your dog, have his teeth cleaned and evaluated by your veterinarian.