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Home » Dental Plaque : Does Pet Food Cause Plaque Formation?

Dental Plaque : Does Pet Food Cause Plaque Formation?

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Dental Plaque

Pet food and plaque formation may not seem to have much in common, but the two are actually linked. In fact, animal nutritionists believe that the high carbohydrate content in certain brands of pet food is the direct cause of plaque formation in pets. 

Pet food manufacturers, however, vigorously deny this claim and explain that the high carbohydrate content of pet food simply helps their products meet animal nutritional standards without adding unnecessary fats. 

In reality, it’s a little bit of both. Any time your pet eats unhealthy foods – no matter what they are –you’re putting their teeth at risk for developing plaque and gingivitis. 

Keep reading to learn more about the connection between pet food and plaque formation so you can make informed decisions about your pet’s oral health going forward.

What is Dental Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that settles on teeth. This sticky film is caused because the sugars in your diet immediately begin to feed the bacteria in your mouth. If plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar, which is more difficult to remove and can result in more serious oral health issues. 

Luckily, there are a lot of certified veterinary dental products, either at your local pet store or online, to help treat plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. Many of these products are easy to use and will help keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy.

How Does Pet Food Cause Plaque Formation?

The high carbohydrate content of pet food creates an acidic environment that is conducive to plaque formation. This is especially true for pets with compromised oral health due to poor oral hygiene. 

The main reason pet food is so high in carbs is that they provide energy to animals. Dogs are able to transform some carbohydrates into easily absorbed simple sugars. However, more complex carbohydrates need to be broken down further by the body before they can be absorbed. 

Do All Types Of Pet Food Cause Plaque?

There are many types of pet food on the market, but not all of them are good for your pet’s health. In fact, some types of pet food can actually cause plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth. Here are six types of pet foods that can cause plaque:

Dry Food

Dry food is one of the most common types of pet food, and it’s also one of the worst for your pet’s teeth. The reason dry food might be bad for your pet’s teeth is that it might be at risk of mycotoxins and bacteria. This means that plaque can easily form on your pet’s teeth.

Dry Food

Wet food 

Wet food is another common type of pet food, but it’s not as bad for your pet’s teeth as dry food. The reason wet food is not as bad for your pet’s teeth is that it usually contains fewer carbs than dry food. However, wet food can still cause plaque buildup if it’s not cleaned off your pet’s teeth properly.

Raw food 

Contrary to what people say about raw dog food, it is a great option for your pet’s oral health. The reason people think raw food is hard on your pet’s teeth is that it’s very abrasive. They feel that it can wear down your pet’s teeth over time, which leads to plaque buildup.

But did you know that raw dog food contains enzymes that can help protect your pet’s teeth and gums? These enzymes are combined with a lack of synthetic filler ingredients, sugars, or starches. They work to prevent tooth decay or other oral diseases. 

So if you’re looking for a way to keep your pup’s smile healthy and sparkling, raw dog food is a great option.


Treats are a great way to reward your pet, but they can also be bad for your pet’s teeth. The reason treats are bad for your pet’s teeth is that they’re usually high in sugar. This means that they can promote the growth of bacteria in your pet’s mouth.

High Carbohydrates

Pet food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates is less likely to cause plaque, but it can still occur. You can actually calculate the amount of plaque in your home based on the type of pet food you’re feeding your pets. 

This is why it’s so important to be aware of the ingredients in your pet’s food. It’s also crucial to choose a quality brand that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals but low in carbohydrates.

How Can You Prevent Plaque Formation In Pets?

The best way to prevent plaque formation in your pet’s mouth is to properly care for their teeth. Although most owners know to brush their pet’s teeth regularly, it’s important to note that not all toothbrushes are created equal. 

In fact, certain types of toothbrushes are not suitable for pets and can actually cause more harm than good. Toothbrushes made specifically for pets have softer, smaller bristles, which are gentler on their sensitive gums and mouths. 

Prevent Plaque Formation In Pets

It’s also important to note that not all pet toothpaste is created equal. Many brands contain harsh chemicals that can actually cause more harm than good by irritating your pet’s gums.


As discussed, there are certain types of pet foods that cause plaque formation. There are some things to consider if you are concerned about your pet’s oral health. 

First, look at the ingredients in your pet’s food. If the food is high in sugar or carbohydrates, it may be more likely to cause plaque formation. 

Also, consider how often you are feeding your pet and how much food they are consuming. If your pet is eating a lot of food, they may be more likely to develop plaque. Finally, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns and ask for their recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does dry dog food cause tartar?

Dry dog food is usually high in carbohydrates, which can lead to a buildup of plaque on the teeth. This plaque can then harden into tartar, which can be difficult to remove. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can help prevent tartar buildup. However, if your dog is prone to it, you may want to visit your vet doctor for help.

  • Is Wet Dog Food Better Than Dry?

There are some potential benefits to feeding your dog wet food. Wet food may be more effective at cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums, and it may also be more palatable for some dogs. If you are concerned about your dog’s oral health, talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your pet. 

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