The one statement I hear more often than any other when discussing a raw food diet over a kibble diet is that dry food keeps cats teeth clean. This idea seems so very ingrained in the mind of the collective that it’s very hard for people to get how totally absurd it is. The truth is it’s a myth perpetrated by the manufacturers of dry food. It’s a great reason, they think, to get you to feed their food.
Myth: Cats need dry food to keep their teeth clean.
Fact: Dry food does not clean your cat’s teeth. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. Some pet food manufacturers offer a “dental diet” that is made up of larger than normal sized kibble to encourage chewing, but in in actual fact, many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole. Additionally, dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque.
Raw diets help control tartar. Raw ground bone is a gentle dental abrasive, acting like fine sandpaper when chewed, which helps remove debris stuck on teeth. The chewing of chunks also gently cleans teeth and this is why we prefer a diet that has some chunks in it. Also, the meat contains natural enzymes, and raw meat doesn’t stick to teeth, unlike starchy kibble. Dry food is promoted as helping to keep teeth clean, but it’s a myth. Kibble is no better for your pet’s teeth than crunchy human food is for your teeth. It would never occur to you to eat only muesli bars to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. The idea that dry food keeps your pet’s teeth clean is just as silly!