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Ozone Therapy to Prevent Plaque Formation in Dogs

Brenda L. Mulherin, DVM, DAVDC, Iowa State University

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In the literature

Abreu-Villela P, Ferraro M, Rodrigues RR, et al. Ozone therapy in the prevention of dental plaque formation in dogs. J Vet Dent. 2021;38(1):18-23.


Daily tooth brushing is the gold standard for prevention of dental plaque and calculus accumulation.1 Reduction of plaque and calculus can help prevent periodontal disease; however, one study reported that only 8% of pet owners brush their dog’s teeth daily.2 Other methods of plaque and calculus prevention should thus be considered to improve canine oral health.

Ozone is a compound comprising 3 oxygen atoms and acts as an oxidant and oxidizer; bacterial cell membranes may be susceptible to ozone.3 Ozone therapy may help reduce dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, halitosis, plaque, and biofilms.3 

This study evaluated use of an ozonized mineral oil ointment for prevention of plaque accumulation in dogs. Dogs (n = 20) received dental scaling and polishing and were randomized into 2 groups. A single application of a nonozone ointment substrate was applied to tooth surfaces and gingiva of the control group, whereas a 30% ozonized mineral oil-containing ointment was applied to the ozone group every 24 hours for 7 days following periodontal treatment (total of 6 treatments). 

A standardized clinical scoring system for plaque coverage and thickness was used to evaluate specific teeth. Computerized analysis of photographs of teeth was performed following plaque-disclosing solution application. Results showed a reduction in mouth mean score (ie, mean of all scored teeth for all dogs in the group) of 36.6% for the control group and 54.8% for the ozonized group. Reduction in the ozone group was higher than the 20% minimum difference between groups required by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for a treatment to be considered effective.4 No signs of GI toxicosis (eg, emesis, diarrhea, discomfort, oral bleeding) were noted at the end of the study.

This study found a reduction in plaque accumulation on the tooth surface in all dogs. Clinical assessment of gingivitis was significantly lower in the ozonized ointment group than in the control group by the end of the study period, possibly suggesting that ozone therapy can reduce inflammation associated with periodontal disease.


Key pearls to put into practice:


Because most owners do not brush their dog’s teeth regularly, other methods of preventing plaque and calculus formation on the tooth surface are needed. Products should be safe, nontoxic, and effective.


Ozone contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help control inflammation.



A semisolid formulation of ozone can be manufactured into a nontoxic ointment that can help prevent plaque formation on tooth surfaces when applied to the tooth and gingiva.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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