Like humans, cats can suffer from worsening oral health over time. However, cats are even less likely than humans to seek out help for any problems. So, it’s up to you to ensure that their teeth stay clean and healthy throughout their life.
These are the main things you can do:
- Brush your cat's teeth
- Dental treats
- Dental toys
- Regular vet visits
We also explain what to look out for so you can spot the warning signs of any problems and get them timely help.
Using a toothbrush on your cat's teeth is an option if you are concerned about the quality of their breath, but it can take some time to train your cat to tolerate this procedure. Be sure that the toothpaste you use doesn't contain any ingredients that may be harmful to them (such as fluoride).
To brush your cat's teeth, you will need a veterinarian-approved toothpaste and toothbrush set designed specifically with cats in mind.
Cats often avoid being brushed because they don't like having their gums touched, but if you only brush their teeth without touching any other part of their mouth, they'll never learn that there's nothing painful about getting a good cleaning!
A little extra attention from time to time will go a long way toward helping your cat become more comfortable with brushing in general.
If you're having trouble getting your cat to cooperate, here are some tips:
1. Make brushing their teeth a positive experience. If you force the cat to submit, they will associate brushing with unpleasant feelings. Instead, think of a way to make it fun for both of you by using treats or playing with toys as rewards for tooth brushing.
2. There are different toothpaste options that might make it easier to brush your cat's teeth, for example there are toothpastes flavored like chicken, and enzymatic toothpastes are thought to be effective without as much brushing needed.
4. Practice makes perfect—and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! It may take several days or weeks before your feline friend completely accepts this new routine (especially if they've never been brushed before), but once they do start enjoying their clean-teeth routine (and staying healthy), both of your lives will be better off for it!
Cats have one set of upper and lower molars, which are in constant contact with each other, so there's no real way to floss them like you do with humans.
What you can do is use a moistened cotton ball or gauze pad to wipe away food particles from between your cat’s teeth on both sides every day when brushing their teeth, which will help dislodge any trapped food and keep things clean! You can also use special dental treats or chews that aid in removing plaque from your cat's mouth (more on those below).
Never use human dental floss as this poses a severe health risk if swallowed.
If you'd like to keep your cat's teeth clean, but don't want to brush them, there are other options. Cat dental treats are a great way to help prevent dental disease and keep your cat's breath fresh. Dental treats also serve as an alternative for teething kittens, who need something hard enough that they can chew on safely—and yes, it turns out cats do experience this pain too!
These come in all different shapes and sizes—you can find rawhide chews shaped like bones or treats that look like little fish—but they're made out of something soft enough not to hurt your kitty's gums while helping get rid of build-up around their chompers! Not only are these treats delicious but they help keep those pearly whites nice and clean too.
There are some toys designed to support kitty dental hygiene, such as flossing toys made with a mesh fabric. These cat chew toys help to improve your cat’s dental health by providing a flossing and cleaning action to their teeth and gums while your cats chew.
Great for play and pampering, these cute cat chew toys also contain catnip to engage your cat during playtime and offer a fun way to improve and maintain their dental health.
It’s also important to bring your kitty for regular veterinary check-ups. Cats are often very adept at hiding signs of discomfort and pain, so regular inspection of their teeth and mouth is important to catch things early. Of course, you should also pay attention to your kitty and keep an eye out for signs of dental disease or any discomfort.
Warning signs of dental disease in cats
Even with the best care, many cats will experience some form of dental issues at some point in their lives, so it's important to be on the lookout for any warning signs of dental disease.
Things to watch out for:
Bad breath is often the first sign of dental disease. If your cat is having trouble chewing or swallowing, you may notice them drooling or frequent licking of their lips and mouth.
Weight loss is another symptom of dental disease. A cat who isn't feeling well may not have an appetite and will lose weight as a result.
Cats with dental issues are also more likely to avoid eating altogether because even though the food tastes good, it's painful for them to chew.
It is important for cat owners to provide dental care for their cats, and there are several ways that this can be done. Brushing their teeth is most effective, but it may be a challenge to train your cat to accept this.
If your cat refuses to cooperate with brushing its teeth, then you should try giving it an alternative method of dental hygiene such as dental treats or chew toys made from non-toxic materials like natural rubber or cotton.
You should also keep an eye out for signs of gum disease in cats so that problems can be caught early enough before they become too difficult to treat on their own without surgery.
Other dental hygiene products made specifically for cats exist! There are all sorts of options available at pet stores, but here are some of our favorites: