Continuous irritation of the gums causes gingivitis. Gums become reddened, slightly swollen and may bleed when brushed. As the condition becomes worse, periodontitis develops. This causes the gums to become puffy and purplish-red, and bleeding is common. Then, pockets around the teeth develop and the bones supporting the teeth begin to deteriorate, indicating periodontal disease.
Alternative ways to reduce the formation of dental plaque and tartar include:
- Dry diets, as opposed to moist/canned or semi-moist diets, which help remove plaque during chewing;
- Rawhide or other similar chew-type products that require significant chewing;
- Diets or treats that contain additives that have been clinically proven to reduce the formation of plaque and/or tartar.