I have four dogs. Three of them have pretty "clean" mouths meaning they are fairly plaque free. Maintaining good dental health for them is fairly easy by occasionally cleaning their teeth and making sure they have bones to chew on.

The other one has a lot of plaque. He eats the same things the other dogs do, chews on bones, but he has way more plaque. What causes some dogs to have more plaque and is there anything I can do to change his diet that would make it better?

  • How come some humans have more plaque than others?
    – jeremy
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


I think a lot of it has to do with individual biology and mouth chemistry. Some dogs (and some cats and humans) have a naturally more acidic oral environment than others. Thus the same foods and residues on the teeth can be more problematic in these individuals than they would be in others.

Also, if your dog has any other oral problems (crooked or missing teeth or the like), this could create the opportunity for more plaque to build up. Or simply if the dog is a different breed; some mouth shapes may promote plaque accumulation more than others.

Eating habits could also potentially play a role. Not just what the dog eats, but how it's eaten, when and how much water is ingested, when and how bones are chewed on, etc. I would say that mouth pH and dental layout/mouth shape are much more likely to play a role here than eating habits, but it still could be a possibility.

As far as improving the situation goes... it may just come down to a more intensive oral care regimen for this particular dog. I have seen some reports that very large kibble can have a beneficial effect on plaque build-up, but I have no direct experience with that. You could try giving him additional bones or dental chews, but you may also just need to clean his teeth more frequently than the other dogs'.

  • Good answer. In this particular case they are all the same breed but he doesn't spend as much time chewing bones as the others do. I just manage it by brushing/wiping/cleaning his teeth more often. I have heard the same about the larger kibble and might try it out just to see but I really like the food he is currently on for other reasons.
    – Beth Lang
    Apr 11, 2014 at 17:36

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