The active ingredient in STAY-C® 50 is a purified, stabilized and highly bioavailable form of vitamin C designed specifically for oral care applications. STAY-C® 50 is like STAY-C® 35, a commonly used source of vitamin C known for its stability in pet foods, yet has a slightly different composition allowing it to be significantly more soluble. STAY-C® 50, unlike STAY-C® 35 can therefore dissolve rapidly in water, or the saliva when entering the mouth, which is an important feature for its supportive role in oral care.
Outside of the clinical observations demonstrating its effectiveness for dry food and edible chew applications in supporting canine and feline oral care, the mode-of-action is not fully understood.
To explore why STAY-C® 50 delivers the observed benefit, you must first understand the progression of dental disease that leads to the ultimate health risk associated with oral care – periodontitis. Periodontitis is defined as an inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, often causing shrinkage of the gums and loosening of the teeth.
As shown in the “Progression of dental disease” chart below, oral microflora leads to plaque formation, which leads to calculus or tartar formation and gum inflammation (gingivitis); ultimately leading to the more serious periodontitis. Periodontitis is known to cause bad breath (halitosis), loss of teeth, and systemic infection if bacteria enter the blood stream (advanced systemic implications).
Initially, oral bacteria collect on the tooth and along the gumline. These oral bacteria also produce acids which erode enamel and the gum tissue. Over time, the bacteria build up to form a biomass called plaque which then absorbs minerals resulting in a hard deposit (calculus or tartar), which can cause further inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Without proper intervention, tooth and gum integrity becomes compromised, resulting in tooth loss and infection. This is where the vitamin C in STAY-C® 50 and mechanical action of some food and treat products comes into play.
Vitamin C has a natural antibacterial activity against certain microflora. The results of a DSM laboratory study demonstrated that overall efficacy is affected by the form of vitamin C used. The form of vitamin C in STAY-C® 50 was found to be more effective than a common form of vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) in inhibiting the growth of select bacteria attributed, in part, to its superior solubilty.
Vitamin C is also fundamental for the production of collagen, the basic protein that makes up all connective tissue including the gums, which helps them stay tight to the teeth, and the teeth to the jawbone.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant in the body and supports the immune system, subsequently supporting phagocytic leukocyte function (the body’s defense against infection).
Ultimately, the mechanical action of dry pet food and hard snacks significantly contributes to oral care. The kibble size, shape and texture encourage cats and dogs to chew their food which produces a mechanical action that helps to clean the teeth and limit the formation of dental plaque. It is not uncommon for pet food and treat manufacturers to combine anti-dental plaque ingredients that further support the mechanical oral care action and overall benefit of their products.
At DSM, we believe STAY-C 50 is a better source of vitamin C for dry dog and cat food and hard chewable dog snacks. Not only is it a dietary source of an important antioxidant but it is a functional ingredient that can support a pet product’s ability to enhance oral care.
STAY-C is a registered trademark of DSM.
References available upon request.