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Product Review: Dental Chews

01/02/2017

dc1February is ‘National Pet Dental Health Month’ in America, so we thought we would look at the current options on the market.

In todays’ pet world dental health is paramount, as 80% of dogs over three years old have been diagnosed with periodontal disease (Milella, N.D.), the first signs of which are halitosis (Kortegaard et al. 2008: Zero, 2004: Rawlings & Culham, 1998: Benamghar et al. 1982). There are a number of ‘dental chews’ on the market which are formed in specific shapes and consistencies in order to facilitate the product to scrape tartar from the teeth of the consumer, instead of manual brushing (Quigley & Hein, 1962) with the aim of reducing the need for dental surgery (Logan, 2006: Kortegaard et al. 2008).

These products have ingredients which range from, but are not restricted to:

  • Potato Starch
  • Glycerin
  • Powdered Cellulose dc2
  • Lecithin
  • Malt Extract
  • Yeast
  • Polyphosphates (Cox & Lepine, 2002)
  • Corn
  • Sorbitol
  • Fructose
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Titanium Dioxide (Carcinogen)
  • More E Numbers E281, E202
  • Peas (please see article 1[2]:64)

Some have vague ingredient lists like: Cereals, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Minerals (including Sodium Tripolyphosphate), Meat and Animal Derivatives, Vegetable Protein Extracts, Oil and Fats, others a full breakdown including wheat, rice, oats, pea protein, potato flavours, and minerals.

An unfortunate fact is that cereal and starch content in commercial pet foods, also found in these ‘dental chews’, are partially to blame for the degenerative state of many pets’ teeth. As dogs do not produce amylase (the enzyme required to digest starch) in their saliva, they have no means of getting rid of starches that are in the food in their mouth, leaving it to accumulate on their teeth and feed the bacteria that lead to a build-up of tartar and calculus.

As for the ingredients:

  • Potato Starch (E1400-1414)dc3
  • Unsuitable for pet carnivores.
  • Glycerin (E422)
  • A by-product of the biodiesel industry. Known to increase gas output, used as a ‘sugar free’ sweetener and preservative in the food industry.
  • Cellulose (E461, E462, E465, E463, E464, E467, E466)
  • Digestible by ruminants and termites with the symbiotic assistance of micro- organisms, however in other animals simply a faecal bulking agent.
  • Lecithin (E322)dc4
  • An emulsifier most often derived from Soybean Oil (usually GMO)
  • Most often chemically extracted, the result of which has been known to lead to degeneration of the peripheral nervous system (Turner, 2015)
  • Not a species appropriate food for dogs, as it disrupts digestion (Turner, 2, 2014)
  • Identified as being converted by gut bacteria into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) which when released into circulation may contribute to atherosclerosis and heart attacks (Russell et al. 2013: Tang et al. 2013: Mendelsohn & Lar rick, 2013)
  • Malt Extractdc5
  • Develops enzymes to modify grain starches into sugars and break down pro teins in the grain to be utilised by yeast.
  • Yeast
  • The most commonly used form of yeast in found in grape skin.
  • The malt extract feeds the yeast, leading to carbon dioxide generation.
  • Polyphosphates (E451 I formerly E450b i)
  • Blood coagulator, stabiliser & emulsifier
  • Know to aid water retention
  • Aids the lifespan of the yeast (Andreeva et al. 2013)

So the ingredients in these ‘dental chews’ are mostly converted to sugars and gas, leaving little question as to why the dogs enjoy them. Whilst the Veterinary Oral Health Council has a list of ‘accepted products’ (VOHC, 2014), there appears to be no definitive quantitative or qualitative data on their efficacy (Quest, 2013: Brown & McGenity, 2005: Gorrel et al. 1999) as all published material compares either new verses old chews, or chews verses no chew, in dogs fed on a dried diet.

Whereas a dog on a species appropriate raw diet, that does not include simple carbohydrates, given a variety of raw meaty bones or even antlers to chew on has clean white teeth with little to no chance of periodontal disease (Turner, 2013).dc6dc7

So what do we recommend?

A great place to start is with raw, free range, organic, chicken wings, such as: Graig Farm Organics Free Range Chicken Wings – 1Kg Bumper Pack

Warning: Please supervise your pets when feeding bones

References

Andreeva, N. Ryazanova, L. Dmitrieve, V. Kulakovskaya, T. & Kulaev, I. (2013) Adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to toxic manganese concentration triggers changes in inorganic polyphosphates. FEMS Yeast Research. 13[5]:463-470

Benamaghar, L. Penaud, J. Kaminsky, P. Abt. F. & Martin, J. (1982) Comparison of Gingival Index and Sulcus Bleeding Index as Indicators of Periodontal Status. Bulletin of World Health Organisation. 60[1]:147-151

Brown, W.Y. & McGenity, P. (2005) Effective periodontal disease control using dental hygiene chews. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry 22[1]:16-19

Cox, E.R. & Lepine A.J. (2002) Use of Polyphosphates in Canine Diets to Control Tartar. Seq #257 – Nutritional Factors and Dental Health. IADR/AADR/CADR 80th General Session (March 6-9, 2002) San Diego, California

Gorrel, C. Warrick, J. & Bierer, T.L. (1999) Effect of a new dental hygiene chew on periodontal health in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 16[2]:77-81

Kortegaard, H. Eriksen, T. & Hands, M.S. (2008) Periodontal Disease in Research Beagle Dogs – An Epidemiological Study. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 49:610-616

Logan, E. (2006) Dietary Influences on Periodontal Health in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Clinic of North American Small Animal Practice. 36[6]:1385-1401

Mendelsohn. A.R. & Larrick, J.W. (2013) Dietary modification of the microbiome affects risk for cardiovascular disease. Rejuvenation Research. 16[3]:241-4

Milella, L. (N.D.) Understanding the Need for Dental Treatment in Dogs. Education Resources for Veterinarians. British Veterinary Dental Association.

Quest, B.W. (2013) Oral health benefits of a daily dental chew in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 30[2]:84-7

Quigley, G.A. & Hein, J.W. (1962) Comparative Cleaning Efficacy of Manual & Power Brushing. Journal of American Dental Association. 65:26-29

Rawlings, J. & Culham, N. (1998) Halitosis in Dogs and the Effect of Periodontal Therapy. Journal of Nutrition. 128:2715-2716

Russell, W.R. et al. (2013) Colonic Bacterial Metabolites and Human Health (Review) Current Opinion in Microbiology 16[3]:246-254

Tang, W.H. Wang, Z. Levison, B.S. Koeth, R.A. Britt, E.B. Fu, X. Wu, Y. & Hazen, S.L. (2013) Intestinal microbial metabolism of phosphatidylcholine and cardiovascular risk. Engl J Med. 368[17]:1575-84

Turner, H.B. (2013) The Science Behind Canine Raw Feeding. Talen Publications. UK

Turner, H.B. 2 (2014) The Latest Protein Ingredients in Pet Food. Healthful Dog 1[2]:64

Turner, H.B. (2015) Feeding Oils. Healthful Dog 2[1]:34

VOHC (2014) Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal. (Internet) Available from: http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm [Accessed 12/12/2014)

Zero, D. (2004) Sugars – The Arch Criminal? Journal of Caries Research. 28:277-285

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