Probiotics have been traditionally thought of as being used to help digestive issues in animals and pets.These probiotics microbes are known to help pet’s digest food more efficiently and keep pathogenic microbes in check throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  However, digestion of food actually starts in the mouth and pathogenic microorganisms are also present in the mouth, just as they are in the GI tract.  As any dentist worth his weight in gold (fillings) will tell you, harmful bacteria are all over the mouth, gums and teeth; contributing to erosion of tooth enamel and periodontal disease.

The same goes for pets and their oral health care. The pathogenic microorganisms in the mouth are responsible for bad dog breath and tooth decay as they have constant supply of food at their door step.  To combat these pathogenic oral microbes in pets’ mouths, various methods are used including dog chews, dental sprays and brushing the teeth of the pet.  But oral health products for pets also seem to be a good fit for probiotics for the same basic reasons that they are good in the GI tract.  What is now emerging in consumer education is the critical role that probiotic beneficial bacteria play in maintaining and restoring optimal oral health.

One such new oral care product for pets on the market is Teddy’s Pride™ Oral Care Probiotic. Probiotics for oral care is a new category and requires unique bacteria that are natural residents in healthy mouths.  Some of the genus and species that are being used include Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus uberus and Streptococcus rattus.  Streptococcus oralis binds to the surface of the teeth, crowding out harmful bacteria by competing for the same nutrients and surface spaces.  It can also produce hydrogen peroxide which in turn can whiten stained teeth in pets.  All of this makes for a convenient way of providing oral health care for pets.

Dr. Dan DuBourdieu

Dr. Dan holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Macalester College.  He has been involved in basic cell biology, biochemistry and immunology research at Hoffmann La Roche Inc., ImmuCell Inc. and other research companies.  He has worked with Bomac Vet-Plus Inc for a number of years doing animal nutrition product research and development.