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Q. Are the dental sprays (to avoid dog plaque build-up) effective?

A. I disagree to some degree with my colleague below. Actual tartar that is already built up on the teeth is not removable with dental chews or brushing. Once the tartar is there the only way to get it off is to either hand scale the teeth or ultrasonically scale the teeth. The benefit with doing a dental is not only to remove the starter but to clean under the gumline which is where most dental disease starts. Once the teeth are clean, however, then you can prevent new tartar from sticking by daily brush and dental chews. In my experience the sprays are not effective but certainly it can't hurt. The absolute best is professional dental cleanings the second-best is daily brushing and dental chews and the third best are water additives and sprays.

Answered By
DR. JENNIFER LADD, DVM

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A. Also forgot to add that dental plaque build-up has been proven to be removable only by brushing your pets teeth and dental chews which gently scrape the teeth.

Answered By
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM

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A. In my experience they aren't. They claim to melt off the tartar, but if there is a chemical strong enough to break through hard tartar that requires special instruments to break off, I am sure this wouldn't be safe spraying on my dogs teeth and gums (sensitive tissue) as it would cause erosion of the healthy gum tissue as well.
Dental tartar is most effectively removed by having a dental cleaning done, because it really isn't the visible tartar we worry about, it is the periodontal tartar that is just underneath the gum line that causes gingivitis and infection that can enter your pets bloodstream.

Answered By
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM

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