By implementing a proper oral hygiene routine, you can protect your cat's dental and overall health. In this post, our Tazewell County veterinarians explain cat teeth cleaning, how to clean a cat's teeth and tips for maintaining your kitty's dental health between appointments.
Your Cat's Dental Health
Cats can hide their pain quite well. While they may be suffering from a painful oral health issue, they may never reveal their discomfort. This is why owners need to be conscious of their feline friend's oral health and ensure their furry companion's teeth stay clean.
By checking and cleaning your cat's teeth regularly, you'll be able to notice any oral health issues early and help alleviate or avoid pain, and expensive treatment, for your cat.
Regular professional dental examinations and cleanings are critical to maintaining your cat's oral and overall health.
At-Home Dental Care
To help keep your feline friend's teeth and gums clean and healthy throughout their lifetime, and reduce plaque and tartar, we recommend maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine between your feline friend's regularly scheduled dental appointments.
Establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten can make cleaning your cat's teeth at home easier and less stressful. This way, your cat can adapt to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
Your goal will be to make brushing your cat's teeth an easy and stress-free aspect of your four-legged friend's daily routine. Start by waiting until your cat is relaxed and calm, then follow these steps:
- After gently lifting your cat's lips, use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few seconds.
- At first, don't expect much from your cat. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times you attempt the process - this is okay. You're building trust with your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated.
- Stay calm and make sure to provide lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth and gum massage. You're attempting to build your cat's tolerance to this experience. Each day, gradually increase the length of time you spend on the task.
- Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats 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.
Along with practicing an at-home oral care routine with your cat. you may also use products recommended by your vet to keep tartar at bay and help improve your cat's oral health.
How successful you are at cleaning your cat's teeth will largely depend on your kitty's temperament. Make sure you are relaxed and flexible, and that you adapt your approach to your cat's level of tolerance. Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their pet's teeth with some gauze, others find a finger brush works well and others apply a dental gel with their fingers that does the work for them.
When you finally begin brushing your cat's teeth successfully, move along the gum line, working quickly but stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It could be weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of their teeth cleaned during a single session.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process they may react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys, or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
Regular Dental Checkups for Cats
To make sure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventative healthcare routine. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical health and let you know if any professional dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's good health.
During a dental cleaning, your pet's teeth will be cleaned and polished (including beneath the gum line) while your cat is under anesthesia. X-rays may also be taken.
A fluoride is applied to each tooth before a dental sealant is placed to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel.
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.