Dental plaque is a common problem in dogs that can cause numerous other complications. Brushing your teeth regularly could help, but many dog owners neglect this. Using a water additive based on pomegranate can reduce the formation of new plaque and tartar.
In a recent study, a French-Polish research team examined the effectiveness of a pomegranate water supplement against the accumulation of plaque and tartar in dogs. The study results are published in the specialist magazine “Frontiers in Veterinary Science”.
Periodontitis affects many dogs
Periodontitis is one of the most common dog diseases and affects at least 80 percent of dogs over the age of three, with the cause often being inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) caused by plaque and tartar, the researchers report.
If left untreated, periodontitis can cause the alveolar bone to become increasingly damaged, causing teeth to become loose or fall out. Periodontitis is also a risk factor for other diseases such as cardiovascular and lung diseases.
In order to prevent periodontitis, regular cleaning of the dog’s teeth is recommended, although this advice is rarely heard. For many people, cleaning is too difficult or their dogs don’t cooperate, according to the research team.
Pomegranate oral hygiene product tested
The researchers have now examined the extent to which an over-the-counter oral hygiene product based on pomegranate (Vet Aquadent® FR3SH™) can help against plaque and tartar in 40 dogs with mild to moderate gingivitis. The study was financed by the French veterinary company Virbac, which also produces the tested product.
A total of 14 dog breeds were represented, ranging in size from Yorkshire Terriers to Alaskan Huskys, and all dogs initially underwent an overall oral health assessment under general anesthesia, including periodontal probing, dental examination, and an oral x-ray.
The dogs also received a teeth cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. After professional teeth cleaning, half of the animals had the oral hygiene product added to their drinking water over a period of 30 days, while the other half only received water.
“We conducted 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 periodontitis,” said study author Dr. Celine Nicolas.
There has also been evidence that the other components inulin and erythritol also play a role in maintaining a healthy oral microbiome in dogs.
Significantly less plaque and tartar
When examining gum health as well as plaque and tartar formation, it was found that dogs that received the additive had a 47 percent lower amount of plaque and a 24 percent lower amount of tartar compared to the control group, the researchers report. The gums in the active treatment group were also completely healthy.
“Here we show that an additive to drinking water based on pomegranate extract can reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar in dogs,” says study author Dr. Jerzy Gawor from the ARKA Veterinary Clinic in Krakow.
The use can help maintain healthy gums in dogs and ultimately prevent periodontitis. According to the researchers, the mechanism of action is probably due to the fact that the proliferation of harmful bacteria is limited and, in particular, the formation of bacterial biofilms is prevented.
“Daily oral hygiene and prophylaxis are essential to prevent periodontal disease in dogs. These include active methods such as brushing your teeth, passive methods such as chewing your teeth or adding water or a combination of these, as well as regular clinical dental checks,” summarizes Dr. Gawor. (fp)