We have received numerous inquiries asking if Periogen Oral Rinse powdered concentrate can be used to clean their pets’ teeth and if we can recommend any of the oral care products sold at pet supply outlets. The issue is that dogs and cats can be afflicted the same as humans with gum disease related to diet and poor oral health. The processed cat and dog food, both canned and dry, simply lacks the ability to naturally clean teeth and most of these pet foods contain large amounts of "fermentable carbohydrates” (sugars) that feed bacteria in the mouth that later become the basis for tartar growth. Dental tartar is made of dead bacteria and elements in saliva such as free calcium. Once formed tartar provides the habitat for bacteria to thrive. Dental tartar buildup is the primary cause of gum disease and for pet owners this is a major concern as current veterinary treatments usually involve sedation for a teeth cleaning.
We did run a small pilot study some years ago with pet owners who would brush their pet’s teeth with a small amount of Periogen powdered concentrate mixed in a little water and applied with either a long toothbrush or a special pet brush that fits on the end of your finger. While we had positive results from dog owners, most of the cat owners found the process very challenging.
There are products on the market that claim to improve a pet’s oral health by simply eating or drinking a particular product; however, we have seen little supportive research for their claims. We are not aware of any product that can be given as a liquid that will soften tartar. There are chicken and beef flavored oral care products that use the desirable flavoring to help keep your pet interested during the brushing process; however, these are only preventative measures to keep tartar from forming. Once formed, it will require diligence with a toothbrush and Periogen or a dental cleaning by your local veterinarian.
Remember that pets tend to swallow the product you are brushing their teeth with so never use any toothpaste on your pet’s teeth unless that product was formulated specifically for pets! Many, if not most toothpastes made for humans contain ingredients such as Xylitol that can be harmful to dogs if too much is swallowed.