Taking care of your cat's teeth
Published February 14, 2023.
Virginie Roger, AHT, CCRP, M.Sc. Kinesiology
Certified Animal health technician, Certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, Master in kinesiology.
Dental care for your cat is just as important as your own dental care, which is why you should never take kitty’s tooth care lightly. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 70% of cats will suffer from periodontal disease during their lifetime.
However, a few simple tips that you can incorporate into your routine at home will help prevent or diminish damage to your cat’s teeth and gums.
- While your kitten is still quite young, handle its mouth. Run your finger over the kitten’s gums and teeth, and reward it with treats or affection.
- Add toothpaste to your finger so that the kitten becomes used to the product’s taste and texture. Never use toothpaste for humans, since it can affect your cat’s digestive system. There are dental hygiene sets for taking care of cats’ oral health.
- Perform circular movements using a tiny, soft-bristle toothbrush or a plastic finger toothbrush. This will allow you to dislodge bacteria stuck to your cat’s teeth.
- Establish a daily brushing routine.
Oral care cat food and treats
Oral care food is recommended for healthy adult cats and can be eaten throughout their lives.
The food works in two ways:
- The friction during chewing simulates brushing.
- The anti-tartar agent added to the food traps the calcium in the cat’s saliva, reducing tartar formation.
Chewing on toys and dental treats helps dislodge residues trapped between the teeth, allowing your cat’s gums to remain healthy.
Annual visit to your veterinarian
An annual visit to your veterinarian is vital to ensuring that your cat’s teeth and gums are healthy. A dental checkup will help identify any weakened teeth and make it possible to treat underlying infections. Tartar removal under general anesthesia should be done a few times during an animal’s lifetime to ensure a thorough exam and cleaning.
Did you know?
- Table scraps and canned cat food cause plaque to build up more quickly on your cat’s teeth.
- Plaque buildup turns into tartar, hard calcified deposits that form on the teeth. These deposits cause gum inflammation and lesions on the teeth. As a result, the teeth become more fragile and can fall out or break, which is not ideal for your cat.
- Bad breath, redness of the gums, eye or nose secretions and excess drooling are possible signs of periodontal disease. Consult your veterinarian as soon as you see any of these signs.
Prevention is the key to ensuring your cat’s dental health. Following these few simple steps can help prevent a great deal of pain and health problems.