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10 Steps to Provide Proper Cat Dental Care

10 Steps to Provide Proper Cat Dental Care | BetterVet

Cats need healthy teeth in order to eat, hunt, groom, and live pain-free. But it’s not always easy to assess your feline friend’s teeth! Even if you do manage to check your cat’s teeth without losing any fingers, what can you do if you spot a problem?

We’ve compiled a list of 10 steps to providing proper cat dental care to help you care for your furry family member at home.

How to Provide Proper Cat Dental Care

Step #1: Regular cat dental checkups

It’s important to look in your cat’s mouth regularly to look for signs of a problem. This could mean bad breath, excess saliva, bleeding, sore gums, swellings, or pus. You might also notice broken teeth, cavities in the teeth, tartar, or exposed roots.

Step #2: Look for eating-related symptoms

Keep an eye out for other symptoms like weight loss, pawing at the mouth, dropping food, or meowing while eating. You might also see your kitty drooling dribbling more than usual, or they might stop eating altogether.

Step #3: Take the teeth cleaning process slowly

If you’ve not looked in your cat’s mouth much before, let alone tried to clean their teeth, it’s unlikely that your cat will be a fan right away.

Try approaching them slowly and initially just petting around their head and mouth. You can progress to lifting their lips gently, then opening their mouth.

Finally, when they’re comfortable you can gradually begin to brush their teeth. When you’re ready to try tooth brushing with your kitty, read our tips for brushing your cat’s teeth or ask your veterinarian for additional guidance.

Have your veterinarian evaluate your cat’s teeth for anything that may be painful before starting a brushing regimen which could create a negative association with having their teeth brushed. 

Step #4: Use treats or praise as rewards for cooperation

While you’re building up to looking after your cat’s teeth at home, you’ll want to use rewards. A treat or praise can be a great way to reinforce their good behavior and let them know that toothbrushing isn’t all bad! Over time they might even begin to remember that they get a treat or two for being cooperative.

Step #5: Create a cat dental care routine

Whether you have a young kitten or an older cat, making dental care part of their routine will help. Cats are creatures of habit, so while they might not like the adjustment initially, with gentle repetition and encouragement they should come around to it. Routine won't just help your cat either – it'll also help you remember!

Toothbrushing should ideally be done every 48 hours or more to be effective, so make sure it's part of your routine.

Step #6: Use pet-safe dental products

There are a variety of kinds of toothpaste out there, but it's important to only use those that are meant for cats, to avoid toxic ingredients. Besides, your cat is much more likely to appreciate poultry or beef-flavored toothpaste instead of human minty toothpaste!

Step #7: Choose the right pet dental equipment

Every cat is different, so what suits one pet parent and their furry feline won't be right for everyone. Check out what's available and choose the style of toothbrush that is most acceptable to your kitty. You might find that they prefer a thimble-style fingertip brush, or they might be fine with a standard type.

Step #8: Find a cat tooth cleaning process that works

If you’re getting nowhere with toothbrushing, all is not lost. There’s still plenty you can do to make a difference. Why not try an antibacterial dental gel, a pet-safe mouthwash, or a supplement for their drinking water? If you book wellness exam or tooth cleaning appointment, our team will be able to discuss the best options to keep your cat’s teeth healthy.

Step #9: Check your cat's diet

In general, dry cat food is better than wet cat food for keeping your kitty’s teeth healthy. There are also benefits to feeding other abrasive foods like dental chews and prescription dental food, but be aware of the extra calories in any dental treats and chews.

Step #10: Seek professional cat dental help

The most important part of looking after your cat's teeth is to get help when you need it. This doesn't just mean asking a family member or friend to hold your cat while you brush their teeth, though. Sometimes, your cat might need treatment from a veterinarian, either to remove plaque and tartar or to assess and extract teeth. So, if you don't feel like you're able to manage you cat's dental care, speak to one of our veterinary team for some support.

Proper cat dental care can be easy

Keeping your cat’s teeth healthy might seem easier said than done, but if you follow the tips above and look at the suggested alternatives, you might find it’s easier than you think!

On the other hand, if your cat’s teeth require an veterinary expert, contact our team to book an appointment.


Cat Dental Care FAQs

Why is Cat Dental Care Important?

If your cat has poor dental health, also known as periodontal disease, they will be in constant pain and discomfort. This could mean that they stop eating and lose weight, or they may stop grooming and become matted or develop skin problems. Dental disease in cats can also cause tooth resorption and tooth loss, as well as serious infections.

How can I improve my cat’s dental health?

You can improve your cat's dental health by brushing their teeth regularly or using another product that reduces plaque and bacteria. It might also help to change their diet to dry cat food and include some healthy dental chews.

How can I reverse my cat's tooth decay?

Sadly, tooth decay can’t always be reversed. Luckily, if you catch it early enough, a scale and polish from a qualified veterinarian can remove mineralized tartar, giving bacteria nowhere to hide. If the dental disease is too advanced, though, some teeth may need to be extracted.

How can I clean my cat's teeth naturally?

Dry cat food and other safe, abrasive chews and treats can help to reduce the build-up of plaque and disrupt the biofilm of bacteria on the surface of your cat's teeth.

Can you reverse gum disease in cats?

If the gums are inflamed but have not begun to recede, the changes can be reversed if the plaque and tartar are removed. Be aware, though, that some types of gum disease in cats are caused by an overactive immune system or chronic viral infections. These may be harder to manage and could require tooth extraction.

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