dental care

Dental problems affect most dogs and can cause serious health issues if left unattended. A wholesome meaty diet along with energetic balancing are two effective ways to help treat and prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a major health issue for dogs. More than 85% have problems with their teeth and gums by the time they reach only four years of age. So doing what you can to help prevent dental disease is an important consideration from an early age.

When I had only conventional training, my goal was to eliminate plaque. It forms when bacteria multiply on the teeth and gums, so I would tell people to brush their dogs’ teeth to prevent plaque buildup. I also strongly recommended teeth cleaning every six to 12 months to prevent the problems that can be caused by rampant bacteria. However, I rarely found people willing to brush their dogs’ teeth several times a day, which is what would have to be done to prevent the hard calculus (or tartar) that forms when plaque mixes with saliva. Since calculus can trap even more bacteria, some animals suffer serious consequences when the problem is not addressed. Any organ in the body can be “infected” as a result of periodontal disease.

Moving to a holistic outlook

My holistic training gave me an entirely different perspective on oral health. Conventionally, I was focused on the mouth; holistically I focus on diet, keeping the immune system strong, and correcting vibrational imbalances. While I see the benefit of brushing when a dog is not healthy enough to have clean teeth, and I still recommend “babying” his baby teeth, my goal now is to build up his underlying health.

When I was a technician and in school, I saw animals react differently to the same treatments. Different dogs had different reactions to the same foods. I saw some live for years with no illnesses, while others developed one disease after another. Finally, holistic training taught me that each individual has a vibrational pattern unique to him or her. Chinese Medicine calls this energy Qi. Homeopathy calls it vital force and Ayurveda calls it Prana. When this energy is pushed out of balance by a trigger specific to your dog, it tries to reestablish that balance by producing a variety of symptoms that include calculus, weak teeth, infected gums and more.

Feed whole meat and bones

Dogs develop tarter for two main reasons. First, they are not healthy enough to prevent the bacteria and plaque from turning into tarter. Healthy dogs do not build up tarter and do not need their teeth brushed. Secondly, people usually assume that commercial dog food mechanically cleans the teeth (it doesn’t), so they don’t brush their dogs’ teeth.

The best step you can take to prevent tarter is to feed your dog big hunks of meat, or raw meaty bones, on a regular basis. Physiologically, a dog’s mouth is designed to rip, tear, gnaw and crunch; in the wild, this is so he can get his prey small enough to swallow. Dogs have fangs, one set of bone-crunching molars, jaws that articulate only up and down (ours go side to side as well) and no digestive enzymes in the mouth. Feeding a fresh food diet, especially with local, sustainably raised meats, will both improve your dog’s overall health and will mechanically clean the teeth better than brushing.

Giving your dog a bare bone or treat to gnaw on may not really clean his teeth. Watch your dog closely and notice which parts of the teeth are in contact with the “bone”. In addition, over the last ten years or so, we’ve seen dogs break their fangs on bones that are too big for their mouth size. This further indicates that it’s only the tips of the canines and incisors that are gnawing on these big bones – and that won’t help prevent plaque and gum disease.

Conversely, big hunks of cooked or raw organ or muscle meat, or whole raw meaty bones (of the right size for the dog), will actually act like dental floss. The muscle meat and skin rub against the teeth and clean them very well. One of my clients, who has Dobermans, says that one of her dogs would start to build up dark plaque on his teeth. She would feed him some turkey necks and within a week his teeth were clean again. Many of my clients have noticed white teeth when they feed their dogs big chunks of meat.

Improving his vibration

Some dogs have a weakness in their vibrational patterns that can lead to tartar even when they’re fed a fresh diet or good treats. Tarter can even form when people are properly brushing their dogs’ teeth or using anti-plaque products. When a dog’s energy field is pushed out of balance, his body will produce gum and tooth problems, among other health issues, to get back into balance. These dogs benefit from deeply curative treatments such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbs) or homeopathy. These modalities rebalance the dog’s vibrational patterns, so his symptoms resolve. As dogs are deeply healed in this way, the warning signs of energetic imbalance, including tartar buildup, resolve. Be sure to work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian who is well versed in TCM and homeopathy.

Along with balancing your dog’s energy field, you can also use one of the following dental health products. There are basically four approaches and types of product:

1. Toothbrushes/finger cots/cloths to use alone or with toothpaste.
2. Products you squirt in the mouth. [Editor’s note: Animal Wellness Magazine recommends LifeFORCE Total Oral Care Spray.] 3. Drops to add to the dog’s drinking water.
4. Dental treats.

Choose only quality products and read labels carefully to avoid hidden sugars and chemicals.

Remember that regular dental checkups are important for your dog. But by strengthening his overall well-being and immunity by feeding him a whole meat diet, keeping his energy field in balance, and either brushing his teeth or using a no-brush dental product, you can help guarantee that he’ll go through life with healthy teeth and gums and a pain-free mouth.