Issues caused by Dental Tartar

Dental calculus (tartar) is composed of various mineral salts, organic matter, serum and food particles. In the early stages of accumulation, the material is soft (plaque), but if it is not removed it continues to build up until it becomes mineralised and forms calculus.

Continual accumulation causes pressure and inflammation of the gums and eventually recession of the gum tissue, which loosens the teeth. The breath becomes very odorous and the mouth becomes a dangerous source of infection. It is currently believed that some of the internal diseases of mature dogs are the result of diseased teeth and gums.

Correction of tartar deposits consists of:

  • Administration of a short-acting general anaesthetic
  • Thorough oral examination
  • Removal of tartar accumulation by ultrasonic scaling, subgingival planing and polishing
  • Extraction of hopelessly diseased teeth


The most easily used and accepted method nowadays is HILLS t/d (Tooth Diet) – a dried food for dogs and cats which is recommended as a total diet but can replace part of your pets diet – up to 1/3 as the minimum. Chew toys such as rawhide or nylon bones. Hard biscuit based pet foods such as HILLS, EUKANUBA and IAMS. Brushing of teeth with commercially available pet toothpastes is sometimes not tolerated. For these pets, regular professional cleaning is advised every 6 to 18 months. Chlorhexidine gels and mouthwashes are also helpful.