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November 22, 2022

Asking for a friend. Do pets get cavities?

Asking for a friend. Do pets get cavities?
Dr. Chris Brown
by DR. CHRIS BROWN

No two words send shivers down our spines like ‘tooth cavity’. Although to be fair, the dentist’s drill and a filling probably don’t help either. But what about the ‘other’ little people? Do pets even get cavities?

Well hole-y moley. Here's your answer you never saw coming...

First of all, here’s a crash course on how we get cavities.

Basically, the sugars and starches we eat become food for the bacteria in our mouth. They turn this food into acid. If the numbers of bacteria get large enough (and we forget to brush!) then they’re able to produce so much acid that it eats away at our teeth forming a hole. More bacteria then live in that hole and it gets bigger. Lovely. 

But get this. Dogs and cats don’t get cavities.

Just don’t think for a second that means guilt free kisses. After all, we need to explain that breath…

So here goes. Pets actually have even more bacteria in their mouths than we do. But instead of trying to make holes in the teeth, those bugs take a different approach. They form that thick brown tartar and use it as a launchpad to then do something far more dangerous - making holes in the gums.

So if you can’t see a hole in the tooth, how do you know it’s happening?

Well, there’s one tell-tale sign. The Thin Red Line.

Once you see it, you’ll wonder how you missed it. I mean, it’s red and on a part of their body we look at every day. But this one quite visible sign says more about their health than you might expect…

To keep track of how healthy our furry family are, you often need a blood test or at the very least, a check-up with your vet. But here’s something you can check at home…

Introducing the Thin Red Line.

Take a look inside your dog or cat’s mouth next time they’re smiling, panting or maybe even sleeping. If you see a thin red line (TRL) along the gums just above the teeth then you’re seeing something really interesting and important.

The TRL in dogs:

And in cats:


So what does the Thin Red Line mean?
It's actually a battle line between the good - their immune system - and the evil - the millions of bacteria sitting on their teeth trying to invade into their body. It’s red because of all the bacteria seeking cells that are being sent there to fight. And it’s a battle that’s an important one to win.

After all, those bad bacteria found in plaque can find their way into the heart, kidneys and liver if they do break through that thin red line with heart disease, kidney and liver infections the result.

So what can you do?

Well, neutralising those mouth bacteria with brushing works for us. And for dogs and cats, it's the same idea...but easier. Rather than wrestling with brushing (which they hate), giving them a dental treat that can both neutralise those bacteria AND prevent tartar from forming is the best approach. 

And in the best news ever, my Teeth + Breath treats work even if your bestie isn't a big chewer. That's because the four active ingredients are absorbed from their stomach and end up in their saliva where they get to work neutralising bacteria and actually reducing tartar over time. Just like the tastiest toothpaste you can imagine. Easy. 

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Oh and there is a rare cat cavity. The feline resorptive lesion. It’s where the tooth begins to dissolve itself away. While the cause is unknown, it’s thought to be either an autoimmune issue or caused by a virus.

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