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Special vitamin C for pet oral care

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The reason we need an oral care solution for pets

The chart below illustrates the progression of dental disease that is as common for dogs and cats as it is for humans.

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A 2014 report by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. showed “Periodontitis/Dental Disease” as a top 10 most common medical condition for dogs and cats.  Managing the buildup of plaque and calculus are the primary interventions taken to prevent periodontitis. 

Unlike humans, dog and cat parents struggle with their furry friend’s oral care for two reasons:

  1. Brushing their teeth is very challenging
  2. Oral care for dogs and cats is expensive, time consuming, and pet parents don’t like to subject their furry children to being anesthetized for the procedure.

These facts were evident in market research studies by Market Tools (now known as MetrixLab), commissioned by DSM.

The results of a 2011 U.S. market study indicated that only 9% of dog parents strongly agreed with the statement “I clean my dog’s teeth very day”.  In the same study, most cat parents agreed “It would be difficult (for them) to clean (their) cat’s teeth every day.”  Whereas, in a 2009 U.S. study, the majority of dog parents agreed that “Having (my) pet’s teeth cleaned by a vet is expensive and time consuming.”  It is unlikely these statistics vary greatly in other world regions or have changed significantly since that time.

Why consider DSM Vitamin C STAY-C® 50 to support companion animal oral care?

The basis for testing STAY-C® 50 with companion animals stems from oral efficacy demonstrated using oral bacterium by the DSM personal care division.   Further published evidence indicated vitamin C played an important role in gum health and supports immune function, important for advanced systemic implications of periodontitis.

Coupling this compelling evidence with the market survey data, DSM animal nutrition and health division went on to test the benefit of STAY-C® 50 in dry extruded dog and cat foods, and an edible dog chew.

Oral care benefit of STAY-C® 50 when combined with the mechanical action of dry pet food and an edible chew product

Although there are three feline studies and two canine studies in total, the following studies, using procedures similar to those described by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC.org), best highlight the oral care benefit of STAY-C® 50.

The following is the summary of a feline oral care study conducted at the Institute for Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria: 

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of DSM Vitamin C STAY-C®50 in dry dental cat food formulation on parameters of oral health in domestic cats. A total of 20 domestic shorthaired cats (age 4.75 + 1.63 years, body weight 4.75 + 1.11 kg) were divided into two groups of ten animals, according to their age, weight and plaque formation tendency and fed either a control dry cat food dental formulation or a supplemented diet (control plus 350mg STAY-C®50 /kg diet applied topically on dry diet) for 28 days. General health and urinary parameters were investigated. Oral health parameters investigated after 28 days of treatment included gingivitis, plaque and calculus index. As the “clean tooth model” was used, all cats received dental cleaning before the 28-day feeding period.

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No changes in systemic health were observed in either of the groups. Oral health of both groups did not differ at the beginning of the study, but at the end (day 28) they showed significant differences in mean (mathematical average) mouth gingivitis and plaque index scores, indicating less observed inflammation and plaque formation in the test group. No differences between the groups could be observed on calculus formation.

The results of the present study indicate a positive influence of STAY-C®50 on the oral health of cats. Long term studies are warranted to elucidate the influence of STAY-C®50 on slow acting processes like calculus formation.

The following is a summary of a canine oral care study conducted at Summit Ridge Farms, Pennsylvania, United States:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of DSM Vitamin C STAY-C®50 in dry dental dog food formulation on parameters of oral health in dogs. A total of 30 beagle dogs (age 2.6 + 0.9 years, body weight 11.36 + 1.5 kg) were divided into three groups of ten animals, according to their age, weight and plaque formation tendency and fed either a control dry non-dental dog food (group A), a dry dental dog food (group B) or a supplemented dry dental diet (plus 700 mg STAY-C®50 / kg diet applied topically, group C) for 28 days. General health and urinary parameters were investigated. Oral health parameters investigated after 28 days of treatment were gingivitis, plaque and calculus index. As the “clean tooth model” was used, all dogs received dental cleaning before the 28-day feeding period.

No changes in systemic health were observed in any of the groups. Oral health of both groups did not differ at the beginning of the study. Numerical reduction of plaque scores was seen in groups B and C at day 28, but this was not statistically significant. Calculus scores were significantly reduced by the dental diets (groups B and C) at day 28 compared to the non-dental diet (group A), but there was no difference between dental diets with or without STAY-C®50. Changes in gingivitis scores were neither significant between day 0 and day 28, nor between groups. Though the effects of STAY-C®50 on oral health could not be proven due to the strong mechanical effect of the dental diet, some numerical improvements over the dental control diet could be seen for individual teeth, especially the teeth that are mainly used for mastication. Furthermore, a reduction of the observed inflammation of the gums (reduced gingivitis scores) that was only seen in group C, indicated that STAY-C®50 has some beneficial effects on oral health in dogs, as has already been shown in cats.

The following is a summary of a canine oral care study conducted at Summit Ridge Farms, Pennsylvania, United States:

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of introducing an edible chew treat (“Chew”), treated with and without DSM Vitamin C STAY-C® 50 in the treat formulation, along with the daily dry food offering (“Diet”), on parameters of oral health in dogs. Forty-five (45) adult Beagle dogs were randomly allocated into the conditioning phase for fourteen (14) days. From these, forty (40) were selected based on their treat consumption and good health to one of four (4) treatment groups (10 dogs per treatment / 4 treatments). The treatment groups were as follows: Group A: Control group (Diet only), Group B: Diet plus one untreated chew (“Control + Chew”), Group C: diet plus one treat containing 760 mg STAY-C® 50 / kg (“Control + Chew L1”), and Group D: Diet plus one treat containing 2470 mg STAY-C® 50 / kg (“Control + Chew L2”).. Oral health parameters investigated after 28 days of treatment included gingivitis, plaque and calculus index. As the “clean tooth model” was used, all dogs received dental cleaning before the start of the trial.

The study day 28 results showed that the groups B, C and D had a significantly (p = 0.0007) reduced whole mouth mean plaque score when compared to the control group A (8.9, 10.2 and 8.7 respectively compared to 13.4). Groups C and D (treatment groups) did not show a significant (p = 0.4509) improvement in plaque reduction when compared to group B (untreated treat). The groups B, C and D had a significantly (p = 1.81E-05) reduced whole mouth mean calculus score compared to group A (2.5, 2.8 and 2.4 respectively compared to 6.4) Groups C and D did not show a significant (p = 0.8497) improvement in calculus reduction when compared to group B. On study days zero (0) and twenty-eight (28) whole mouth mean gingival scores were taken for each dog. The groups B, C and D all showed a reduced whole mouth mean gingival score at study day twenty-eight (28) compared to their study day zero (0) evaluation (-17.4%, -28.1% and -16.2% respectively) with the group C (Control + Chew L1) having a significant (p = 0.0170) improvement. The whole mouth mean gingival score for group A (Diet only) increased by 8.7% when the study day twenty-eight (28) was compared to the study day zero (0) (1.12 and 1.03 respectively). 

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Though the effects of STAY-C®50 on plaque and calculus scores could not be proven due to the strong mechanical effect of the dental treat itself, some numerical improvements over the untreated treat group (B) could be seen for individual teeth, especially the teeth that are mainly used for mastication (data not shown).

It should also be noted that the dogs entering the study are well cared for subjects, receiving regular dental cleaning by a qualified veterinarian. Consequently, the mean gingivitis score of each group of dogs entering the study was low (scoring is from 0 to 3, 3 being more advanced gingivitis) emphasizing the challenge associated with demonstrating statistical significance of a further reduction in mean gingivitis scores. A significant reduction of the observed inflammation of the gums (reduced gingivitis scores) that was seen in the group C receiving Control + Chew L1 (760 mg STAY-C®50) indicated that STAY-C®50 has some beneficial effects on oral health in dogs, as has already been shown in cats.

As a matter of discussion, with most of the measured parameters, all three studies demonstrated that by introducing STAY-C® 50 there was a numeric improvement in oral health versus control, some being statistically significant.  There is also evidence that mechanical action plays a critical role, and foods or snacks should be developed to leverage this benefit.

At DSM, we believe STAY-C® 50 is a better source of vitamin C for dry dog and cat food and chewable dog snacks, compared to ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, or DSM Vitamin C STAY-C® 35. 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.

Published:

September 23 2019

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Special vitamin C for pet oral care