Plaque forms naturally and continuously as a colourless film of bacteria and food debris which sticks to the surface of the teeth, particularly near the gums. If left on the teeth, minerals seep into soft plaque and form tartar, a hard brown/yellow material which is stuck firmly to the tooth surface. This can often be seen on some teeth in many dogs. The build up of tartar on your dog's teeth acts as a wedge, irritating the gum, allowing bacteria in the plaque to cause infection and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and other tissues surrounding the teeth (periodontitis). The bone surrounding the teeth begins to erode and eventually teeth can become loose and fall out.
My cats fell into this category which was not surprising since they had been on a 100 percent dry food diet their entire lives and ranged in age from 2 -10 years at the time of the transition to a healthier diet. It took me several months to convince them that they are carnivores and need meat – and not in a dry, overly processed form that also includes far too many carbohydrates and too little water. It was a little rough, at times, since two of my cats get very crabby with their housemates when they are hungry. These boys were occasionally taken into a separate room during the transition period and fed some dry food because I do not like unrest in my home.