A common belief among dog owners and veterinarians is that feeding soft food rather than dry kibbled food is worse for dog dental health. Actually there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. Although kibble eaters may develop less dental tarter, the incidence of gingivitis and periodontal disease is the same for both soft and hard diets.
Studies in wild dogs and feral cats that do not eat any hard kibbled dry food have less dental tarter than pets fed commercial wet and dry foods. Incidentally the wild animals suffer the same incidence of gingivitis and periodontal disease as domesticated pets. Dental health seems to be more complicated than merely the type of food that is eaten.
What has been shown is that animals fed softer food produce less saliva than those fed dry food. Saliva is important to physically wash bacteria from the mouth, bind plaque forming crystals and contains chemicals that inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria.
Dogs fed homemade diets probably produce less saliva so regular brushing, offering nylon or bone chew toys should be a part of their care to prevent major dental disease.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN