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Dental Health Month

Posted by Jim Galovski on
Dental Health Month - NOBL Foods


Golden Retriever

When my kids were growing up, they loved it when I would read them, “Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis” by Dav Pilkey. It’s a cute story about how the family dog Hally saves the day for the Tosis family using her “special” dog breath. 

As February is Dental Health month, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about what causes “bad” dog breath, why it is a bigger health risk than you may think and how you can provide your dog with good oral care!

Plaque is a sticky build-up on your dog’s teeth that is made up of bacteria, food, and saliva. When all three come together, a reaction occurs creating plaque. If the plaque stays on your dog’s teeth, over time it will harden and develop into tartar. A dog with tartar build-up is more likely to experience gingivitis, periodontal disease, and abscesses. None of these conditions are “fun” as they cause redness and swelling, bad breath, a recession of the gum line, and eventually tooth loss.

Let’s look at plaque a little more.

Certain foods will accelerate the development of plaque. For example, bacteria thrives on carbohydrates and sugars, and many of today’s leading kibble foods average 40% or more carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It’s a “necessary evil” as the carbohydrate is a low-cost calorie (kcal of Metabolized Energy) and necessary to bind all ingredients together in the extrusion process when making the food. Makes you wonder why there are no requirements for pet food manufacturers to report either carbohydrate levels or sugar levels in their food. Your dog eats a lot of carbohydrates and has a minimal amount of salivary amylase (the enzyme that breaks down ingested carbs) so when food particles and remnants of the kibble stick to teeth (more so in smaller dogs’ mouths due to spacing issues), they aren’t broken down very efficiently enzymatically. This is repeated two times each day, for their entire life.

Let me address two “myths”:

  1. A dog’s mouth is “cleaner” than a human’s mouth
  2. Eating kibble is good for dog’s teeth


Dogs and humans share about 15% of the same types of bacteria in their mouths. Way back in the day, I’m sure a well-intentioned dentist looked for the same bacteria we had in the mouths of dogs and discovered there was very little of it. Had they been looking for Capnocytophaga canimorsus, they would have found plenty. This is the bacteria that causes infection with a dog bite. Now, the second myth is a Catch-22. Yes, some mechanical abrasion by kibble can be good, although it’s mostly offset by the high levels of carbohydrates in the food that feed the bacteria and lead to more plaque.

The old adage, “You are what you eat” is important to remember when it comes to oral care for your dog. In addition to finding a food that’s low in carbohydrates, you want to make sure they are delivering calcium, phosphorous and B-complex vitamins (e.g. Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Folate and B12).

At Guardian, you can see our full fact sheet for the NOBL Canine Food Bar Turkey & Duck here. When compared to a specific dental diet (Hill’s Adult Oral+ Canine Nutrition), you can see how NOBL stacks up:



Turkey & Duck

Adult Oral+










Total Sugars







see fact sheet


Percentages listed on a dry matter basis


Golden Retriever SmilingThis Dental Health month, and every month, you should make every effort to combine a proper diet with a dental care routine that is consistent and easy to execute. Ask your veterinarian for their thoughts and suggestions on what’s possible for you and your dog.

Your dog’s natural smile is better than anything out there and healthier too!

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