What to know about cat teeth cleaning
Most cat owners will agree that getting your cat to say 'ahh' often isn't easy. The process can be tricky for you and sometimes a little distressing for your cat. Feline dental care for mouths, teeth and gums is a crucial element of their overall health, and when it comes to dental hygiene, prevention is everything. Check out some of our tips for managing cat dental health from home and what you need to know about keeping your cat’s teeth and mouth healthy..
How much attention does your cat's oral health need?
Domestic cats require extra help from their owners to keep their teeth clean with food, treats and other dental care essentials. Around 80% of cats over the age of three will develop teeth or gum problems, largely due to a build-up of plaque and bacteria on their teeth from their food.
Some dental issues cannot be reversed, so early prevention and regular checks are key. Don't worry, though – taking care of your cat's dental health can be easy with the right advice, products and a bit of gentle practice.
What to look for in your cat’s dental hygiene
Your cat's breath should smell 'neutral' – it shouldn't have a distinct or offensive odour. If you notice a change in the smell of your cat's breath, it could be time to get a vet's opinion.
Healthy cat teeth should look:
● Free from chipping
Cats' gums should look pink. Inspect you cat's gums to make sure there aren't any signs of:
Check around their mouth, including at the back, to make sure there are no signs of:
● Unusual bumps
How to clean your cat's teeth from home
Items that will help you brush your cat's teeth at home include:
● A finger glove
● Cat toothpaste
● A rubber cat toothbrush
Remember: never use human toothpaste for your cat as the fluoride content can be harmful to their health.
Aim to brush your cat's teeth at least twice a week or daily. You can approach the task using the following steps:
● Sit behind your cat and try to cradle them, so they feel supported. Or, if they're already settled on your lap, and someone can bring you what you need, great!
● Tilt their head back gently and lift their chin to open their mouths.
● Using cat toothpaste on your finger glove, gauze or rubber toothbrush, gently brush in a circular motion across the front and back of their teeth and along their gum line.
● You may need to try this over a few sittings to gradually let your cat get used to it. Remember where you left off so you can pick right back up later.
Dental care for cats, besides brushing
Your vet or vet nurse can recommend other dental care products, including:
You can add this to their drinking water to help control plaque and keep their breath smelling fresh.
Spraying a teeth cleaning solution onto your cat's food or chew toys can help, particularly when they’re struggling to stay still for other treatments.
Chewing dry treats can help reduce the risk of tartar build-up and also improve gum health and breath.
Dry food can help scrape plaque away, plus the active ingredients are designed to support cat dental health.
These dental toys are covered with a soft mesh that gently scrapes away plaque and tartar while remaining gentle on the gums.
When should I see a cat dentist?
Your cat should see a veterinary professional every six months for maintenance and check-ups. During a dental check, the vet can do an expert examination, and will let you know if your cat needs any treatment as well as advise on preventable care. You can get a free dental check during the month of August at selected Best Friends Pets locations!
The Our Vet professionals at Best Friends Pets will gladly help you understand if your cat needs different or extra dental products, like toys or sprays. They can also help you learn correct brushing techniques to keep your best friend happy and healthy from home!