The wolves and lynxes our pets evolved from needed good teeth so they could hunt well. That’s not too surprising, but here’s something that is —their diet of raw meat and bones not only helped make their teeth and gums healthier, but it could make your pet’s teeth healthier too. Find out why raw and freeze dried raw are the best diet options for your pet’s dental well-being.

Forget the dry food myth.
There are lots of claims that kibble is the best diet for dental health because is naturally “scrapes” your pet’s teeth to remove plaque. But there’s two arguments against that. One is that most pets often swallow kibble whole. The other is that most kibbles contain a higher percentage of refined carbohydrates, which are a breeding ground for the bacteria that increase plaque and tartar levels.

Let them eat like a carnivore.
Besides being high in animal protein, raw foods are also low in carbs, which are the favorite food of plaque-causing bacteria. By avoiding carbs, you’re doing one of the most important things you can do to prevent your pet from getting gum disease.

They’ll get naturally cleaner teeth.
Raw food not only doesn’t cause plaque, it helps prevent it. Meat actually contains natural enzymes that protect teeth and gums. These enzymes, along with the lack of synthetic fillers, sugars and starches, prevent food from sticking to the teeth and causing plaque build-up. Not sure if you believe it? Think about how covered in food particles your pet’s teeth are after eating kibble.

Throw them a bone.
This may seem dog-centric, but stick around, cat owners. Raw bones are good for both dogs and cats to gnaw on. The whole process acts a bit like flossing for them. As they chew, their gums are massaged and their teeth get cleaner. But you have to be careful. Never give your pet a bone that is smaller than the size of their mouth because they could choke on it or swallow it whole. Also, never give them a cooked bone since it could splinter and puncture something. In general, you should always supervise bone chewing. For dogs, pick a large, raw bone from a cow. For cats, raw poultry necks are a great option.

If nothing else, go low carb.
Not ready to go all in on raw food? You can still improve your pet’s oral hygiene in a big way by choosing a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in animal protein. When you look at the nutrition label, check that animal protein is listed as one of the first 2-3 ingredients.

Don’t throw out the toothbrush.
Diet alone, even a great one, can’t do it all. If you’ve been brushing your pet’s teeth daily, keep it up. If not, now’s a great time to start.