Your Cat's Dental Health
It can be difficult to know if your cat is in pain and oral health issues aren't always immediately obvious by looking in their mouth. Regular teeth cleaning at home, as well as routine dental vet visits, are important measures to help prevent oral health issues from occurring and avoid causing your cat pain (and potentially expensive treatment).
How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth at Home
Maintaining a regular dental cleaning routine for your cat will keep your feline friend's teeth and gums healthy throughout their lifetime. If possible, it is best to start cat dental care when your cat is young so that your kitten will get accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
Strive to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Start by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:
- Gently pull back your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- Go slowly. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times your try this process but that's okay - this process is about building trust and preventing agitation.
- Be sure to praise your cat and give them a treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You should be able to build tolerance and increase the length of time your cat will allow you to touch their mouth.
- Once your cat is used to you massaging their gums each day, try gradually introducing a soft-bristled toothbrush and special cat toothpaste. These can be acquired from your vet and the toothpaste comes in cat-friendly flavors like beef or chicken.
- Begin using the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Be Patient While Your Cat Gets Used Teeth Cleaning
The level of success you achieve when it comes to cleaning your cat's teeth will vary from cat to cat. Make sure you are calm, relaxed, and willing to be patient with the process. Many cat owners find that they have better success using a small piece of gauze or a finger brush.
There is also a dental gel you can apply with your fingers that will work to help remove plaque build-up for you.
If your cat seems to be responding well to brushing, try to move along their gum line, working quickly but stopping if they show signs of irritation. It could take weeks before your cat will allow you to brush all of their teeth during a single session.
If your kitty does not respond well to the process they may react by biting or scratching. If you are not having luck with at-home brushing, consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys, or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
Annual Dental Exams For Cats
On top of at-home brushing, our dental vet experts recommend annual professional cat dental care treatment. This is an important preventative measure that allows your vet to evaluate your cat's oral health, take x-rays if required, and do a thorough cleaning.
If your vet finds any issues, such as mouth injuries or tooth decay, they will be able to provide you further treatment options for your cat's oral health issues.
To find out more about dental care for cats available here at our Mamaroneck Animal Hospital check out our dentistry page.
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.