Importance of Maintaining Pets' Healthy Gums Too Great to Be Ignored

New research shows more links to overall health, importance of clean teeth

Aug 09, 2011, 12:21 ET from The GREENIES(R) Brand

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Veterinarians commonly advocate for pet owners to provide daily preventive oral care for their dogs and cats. And with growing evidence of the link between clean teeth and whole-body health for our pets, The GREENIES® Brand—makers of the number-one veterinarian-recommended dental treat available in pet specialty stores—wants pet owners to be aware of the connecting factor in this link: gum health.

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Periodontal disease, the leading health condition affecting three-fourths of dogs and cats age three or older (1), is often the result of pet owners not regularly providing at-home oral care and veterinary assessments and treatments. Plaque on pets' teeth forms as bacteria and food particles coat the teeth and develop a biofilm. If not cleaned off, plaque irritates the gum line and can cause gingivitis and harden on the tooth surface to cause tartar. With more accumulation, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease. Diseased gums can act as a bacterial superhighway into the circulatory system of the pet that may ultimately adversely affect vital organs.  

Among the growing body of evidence is a study (2) published this year in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on dogs with various grades of oral health. The research showed that diseased and inflamed gums are associated with inflammatory affects in other parts of their body, like the kidney. Fortunately, the study also showed that when gum disease is treated, the systemic reactions lessened, particularly as more severe gum disease is treated.  

"Gum disease, which research tells us can affect more than just a pet's mouth, is initiated by plaque accumulating on teeth and not being cleaned," said Dr. Jan Bellows, veterinary dental specialist and incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College. "The good news is every pet parent has the power to keep their pet's teeth clean and gums healthy. It starts with daily at-home oral care with brushing or Veterinary Oral Health Council ( -approved dental products. And each pet should have a veterinary oral exam at least annually with professional cleanings as advised."

Product News from The GREENIES® Brand

The GREENIES® Brand recently introduced the fifth generation of GREENIES® Canine Dental Chews. The most powerful teeth-cleaning formula ever, it carries the Veterinary Oral Health (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance for reduction of plaque and tartar build-up and is clinically proven to help maintain healthier gums. The highly palatable, natural recipe with added vitamins and minerals is nutritionally complete and balanced and is available in veterinary clinics and pet specialty stores nationwide.

About The Nutro Company

The Nutro Company is a leading manufacturer of natural* pet food products sold exclusively at pet specialty stores.  The company has been making "The World's Best Pet Food" for more than 80 years and is dedicated to quality, excellence and innovation in dog and cat nutrition offering healthful formulas for every pet's life stage, activity level and size.  The Nutro Company's family of brands includes MAX®, NATURAL CHOICE® and ULTRA™ pet food brands in addition to the GREENIES® brands, which include the number-one veterinarian recommended pet specialty dental chews**,GREENIES® PILL POCKETS® Treats and GREENIES® JointCare treats.  For more information, please visit and

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(1) American Veterinary Medical Association Reports

(2) Rawlinson JE, Goldstein RE, Reiter AM, Attwater DZ, Harvey CE. Association of periodontal disease with systemic health indices in dogs and the systemic response to treatment of periodontal disease. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2011 Mar 1;238(5):601-9.

*Natural with added vitamins and minerals

**Among veterinarians that recommend dental chews for at home oral care.