Cats, like humans, can have oral health problems, so we cat parents must be proactive in keeping their teeth clean. Our Beacon vets offer some advice on how to establish a successful oral health routine.
How to Keep a Cat's Teeth Clean
Even though we have domesticated cats, they will often hide physical pain out of instinct - thank you, evolution. However, just like their human counterparts, our feline companions can suffer from oral health problems.
As a result, cat parents must be vigilant about their feline companions' oral health and keep their teeth clean to detect and treat problems as soon as possible. Hopefully, this will also help to avoid the majority of painful, inconvenient, and costly procedures.
Book Annual Dental Checkups for Your Cat
During their annual visit to the veterinarian, cats should have a dental examination. Your veterinarian will examine your cat's oral health and any conditions that may be present, as well as their overall physical health, during this appointment.
He or she can then let you know if your cat needs a professional veterinary dental cleaning or surgery.
Develop a Daily Dental Care Routine
Our cats, like us, require a daily oral health and dental care routine to keep their teeth as clean as possible. When your kitten is young, it's a good idea to get them used to having their teeth brushed.
Get your vet’s blessing to do this first, since even kittens can have oral health issues that will need to be resolved before you can brush their teeth.
You’ll probably have more success if you gradually ease your cat into this routine. Wait until he’s calm and relaxed, and take these steps:
- Gently lift his lips and take a few seconds to use your finger to give his teeth and gums a massage.
- Keep your expectations low to start. You may only reach one or two teeth the first few times you attempt brushing - and that’s okay. Stop before your kitty gets too annoyed.
- After your teeth-and-gum massage, lavish praise, head pats, and a tasty treat. Your goal is to gradually increase your cat's tolerance for having their teeth brushed by increasing the amount of time you spend doing so.
- You can gradually introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for cats once your cat has become accustomed to having his teeth and gums massaged regularly (do not use your toothpaste, as its ingredients are toxic to our furry friends). Choose flavors that they enjoy, such as chicken or beef.
- Brushing should be done gradually. Your cat might begin by licking a small amount of toothpaste from your finger (you may even have the chance to taste test a few different flavors). Brushes with soft bristles are designed specifically for cats' sensitive gums; use them.
Some cat owners find that a finger brush is effective, while others discover that a small piece of soft cause is essential. You can also use your finger or a toothbrush to apply dental gel and let the gel do the work for you.
Brush your teeth quickly along the gum line when you first start brushing. Finish brushing your cat's teeth before he becomes irritated (it may take weeks for him to tolerate having all of his teeth cleaned in one sitting).
A word of caution: If your cat becomes too stressed during teeth cleaning, it may bite or scratch you. Some cat owners save their fingers by putting additives like plaque remover in their cat's drinking water.
Several products that help with cleaning cat’s teeth are available. Of course, they’ll also need a regularly scheduled professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified veterinarian to keep their teeth healthy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.