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Ways to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Clean at Home

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by Alexander Thompson
May 23, 2022
4 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • The Importance of Your Cat’s Dental Care Routine
  • Ways to Keep Your Cat’s Dental Health in Check
  • Caring for Cat Teeth at Home
  • How To Clean Your Cat’s Teeth at Home?
  • What Should I Know When Checking My Cat’s Teeth?
  • The Signs of Dental Disease
  • Final Thoughts
Establishing good dental care routines is just as important for cats as it is for people. By starting to care for your feline’s teeth early on you are poised to enjoy great success in the long run. Whether you have considered experimenting with brushing your cat’s teeth, or haven’t ever thought of it, proper oral healthcare is important for kitties for a number of reasons. From the prevention of a myriad of diseases, such as gingivitis, to keeping an eye on other health concerns such as diabetes, keeping your four-legged friend’s teeth in check should hit the top of your daily to-do list.

The Importance of Your Cat’s Dental Care Routine

Over 75% of all cats, including feral and domesticated, face gum or dental issues within their lifetime. From calculus to receding gums, felines can experience a variety of complications once their pet-parents fail to properly uphold a dental care routine. In fact, over time, food scraps begin to build upon your cat’s teeth thereby creating plaque, and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.
Furthermore, the minerals found within cat saliva have the potential to turn moldy plaque into calculus, leading to gum atrophy. This condition causes teeth to lose optimal function as well as their inherent position. Additionally, cats produce a type of caries commonly known as FORL.

Ways to Keep Your Cat’s Dental Health in Check

It’s highly recommended for every owner to keep up with the dental maintenance routine of their pet. Whether this is a combination of dental exams, cleaning, and other procedures, your veterinarian is a great place to start. By creating a home-care routine, you may begin to notice an improvement in the overall health of your cat, as well as their comfort. Plus, when you put more effort in at home, less will be required at your cat’s next vet appointment.
a cat is opening his mouth and showing his teeth

Caring for Cat Teeth at Home

Naturally, cats spend a lot of time gnawing on bones and even grass when exploring nature – think of it as a built-in method of caring for their teeth. However, considering most cats aren’t spending their life in the great outdoors, pet parents are completely responsible for dental hygiene, as well as their general wellbeing. What aspects of feline dental care should be observed?

Brushing a Cat’s Teeth

Brushing your cat’s teeth is a common, effective way to decrease tartar and plaque buildup. By brushing your cat’s teeth regularly, they are poised to enjoy better health as a result. When you get started, remember to be patient with yourself as well as your cat – this is just as foreign to them.

Improving a Cat’s Diet

Making positive changes to your cat’s diet is another great way to improve their overall dental health. By providing a high-quality, nutritious diet, your cat is poised to maintain optimal health, benefiting from meat, vegetables, and even fruit. For best results, try to avoid food high in empty calories, fake colors, and synthetic flavoring.

Utilizing Toys or Dental Chews

When supplying your cat with dental chews or toys, consider opting for one with an abrasive texture. This enables your cat to scrub away plaque through normal play or chewing. Ultimately, this movement will also stimulate their gums, providing a method of avoiding infections, diseases, and more.

Be Careful About Letting Them Chew on Bones

While bones are similar to dental chews, in that they assist with the breakdown of tartar and plaque, you can’t just toss your cat any old bone. When providing your feline with a bone to chew, only supply raw bones that remain uncooked. The problem with cooked bones is that they could splinter off, and lead to further health complications. This includes pork bones, chicken bones, and even fish bones.
a cat is showing his teeth

How To Clean Your Cat’s Teeth at Home?

  • Start brushing your cat’s teeth early – if possible. When you begin, keep your sessions short, and try to remain positive and patient. Massage her gums gently, using the tip of your finger or even a cotton swab.
  • Purchase a toothbrush specifically designed for use on cats. This style will be smaller compared to your own human toothbrush, with softer bristles. You may also find toothbrushes designed to slide onto your finger.
  • Purchase a toothpaste designed for use in cats, as your own toothpaste may lead to an upset stomach or other kinds of distress.
  • Does your cat have inflamed gums? Start by brushing their teeth gently, or make an appointment for a quick check-up at the vet.
  • Once you’re done, be sure to reward your feline for cooperating with a treat. This serves as a type of positive reinforcement, letting her know she did a good job and helping her learn brushing isn’t a punishment.

What Should I Know When Checking My Cat’s Teeth?

Typically, felines aren’t keen on having their teeth brushed. However, it is vitally important to their health as a whole that you keep close tabs on their oral health. When they become distressed, or they refuse to allow you to examine their mouth, you can always visit your vet instead for a quick checkup.
When it comes to the health of your cat’s teeth, they should appear white and clean in appearance, as well as free from chips. Their gums should be free from sores or lesions, and have a pink, healthy appearance free from bleeding, redness, or swelling. Ensure the back of their mouth is free from lesions, swelling, foreign bumps, ulcers, and more. Abnormal findings should be reported to the vet as soon as possible.
Furthermore, your feline’s breath should be free from any foul odors, but it should be taken seriously if discovered. Unpleasant odors coming from a cat’s mouth can serve as a sign of infection, regardless of whether it stems from somewhere else in the body aside from the mouth. Make sure to speak with your vet and schedule a prompt checkup if you notice any sudden changes. Additionally, if you notice signs pointing toward dental disease, including pawing at the face, drooling, and difficulty swallowing, a trip to the vet is your safest bet.

The Signs of Dental Disease

Because we can’t speak the same language, it’s impossible for your cat to verbally explain the pain it may be experiencing. Oral pain can be especially difficult to identify, especially considering how cats will continue on with life, even when it comes to normal eating habits. For this reason, it is crucial that you keep close tabs on your cat’s weight, behavior, and more, and take note of any signs of feline dental disease, including:
Unpleasant breath
Tooth discoloration and visible tartar
Red, bleeding, or swollen gums
Less frequent grooming habits
Blood tainted drool
Weight loss
Difficulty eating
Check here to learn more about Why Is My Cat Not Eating.

Final Thoughts

Like many aspects of pet care, dental hygiene is one that requires heavy human intervention to complete properly.
When it comes to cats specifically, there are a few simple ways to keep their teeth in check. Once they are used to having their teeth cleaned and mouth checked, you will be well on your way to ensuring healthier habits from here on out.
Plus, your veterinarian will be more than capable of recommending a variety of products that will maintain your cat’s teeth and gums.
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