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how to control tooth decay
How to control tooth decay , indeed can it be possible ?
Plaque accumulation Plaque will form without any food passing through the mouth as all components needed are present in the mouth. Food, especially sticky food or carbohydrates, can provide additional raw material for greater and faster build up of plaque. Chewing activity mechanically dislodges plaque from some tooth surfaces but not plaque stagnation areas. Plaque is only dislodged from the tooth surfaces which the food slides across as the tooth bites into it – this tends to be more at the top of the crown rather than the areas near to the gumline. Ideally the physical properties of the diet will maximise plaque removal by being tough yet deformable. Tooth brushing will always be superior in plaque removal as even the most ideal chewing substrate will not contact all tooth surfaces. It is thought that there may be thresholds, which vary in each individual, of the amounts of plaque which leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease. What has yet to be established is the range and average values of these thresholds for each breed. Minimising plaque presence is the mainstay of managing periodontal disease. Having some actual values would be helpful in determining which methods of plaque removal are most worthwhile in clinical management.
2) Physiological exercise Many body components atrophy if not used. Conversely, regular physiological stimulation leads to strengthening and good health. The tooth is attached to the bony socket by the periodontal ligament with ligament insertion into the bone and root surface cementum. The gingival is attached to the bone and tooth by connective tissue containing fibres. If these tissues are positively stimulated as a function of chewing the potential tissue generation may counter their destruction due to periodontal disease. Without stimulation the atrophy can only accelerate periodontal disease progression. There is a complete lack of studies to support this theory. The anecdotal notion that cats which hunt and dog’s that chew recreationally get less gum disease may be more due to the physiological stimulation rather than the cleaning activity.
 3) Nutrition It is known that many illnesses lead to a more rapidly progressive periodontal disease. Certain nutritional deficiencies have been shown to harm periodontal health. Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy severely affects the gums. The requirement of adequate essential amino acids, Zn, Vitamin E, Folic acid, correct CaTongue has been shown to affect periodontal health. It is reasonable to assume that optimal nutrition equates to optimal periodontal tissue health. It is possible that aspects of dietary requirements for periodontal health have yet to be identified which makes it difficult to ensure their provision. Is the diet the cause or can diet prevent periodontal disease? The answer to both these questions is an emphatic NO. Plaque causes periodontal disease and some plaque will accumulate and remain on the teeth whatever the diet. If diet can prevent periodontal disease, in dogs or cats, it should be possible to find or create a population without periodontal disease. I challenge anyone to produce such a population. Diet can surely influence periodontal disease but the data to show which aspect gives which benefits is patchy and clouded by strong but unproven personal opinions. I have repeatedly encountered misinterpretation; the worst being that little or no calculus on the teeth means no periodontal disease.
Diet options for pet dogs and cats
 1) Commercial (pre-prepared) diets a) wet foods (Canned, pouches etc) b)dry (kibble) foods – regular c)dry (kibble) foods – special dental diets
2) Home prepared a) to owners spec e.g. as before commercial pet food was made b) to BARF recommendations
3) Wild diet – exactly as a wild animal equivalent - not a practical option for pets There are many pros and cons for each type of diet. Much more hard data needs to be established to know which aspects are the more important. There are certainly more questions than answers and two questions which need consideration are;
1) Is the focus on “best” diet actually a significant factor in the complete management of periodontal disease ? Or should endeavours be directed into other means of plaque control and making the host most resistant ?
2) Is it appropriate to compare domesticated pets with all their differences to their wild animal ancestors ? There are many differences - genetics, anatomy, environment, husbandry, lifespan etc

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