What Every Owner Should Know About Cats Dental Health and Hygiene

Oral health issues can be just as painful for your cat as they are in our own mouths. In fact, mouth and tooth pain could even cause your feline friend to resist eating as frequently—or at all. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain how to best clean your cat's mouth and keep their teeth, gums and oral cavity healthy. 

Your Cat's Dental Health

Cats can be quite adept at hiding their pain. They may actually be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever communicating to people that they are uncomfortable. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion oral health and keeping their four-legged friend's teeth sparkling and clean.

By monitoring your kitty's oral health and routinely cleaning their teeth, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatments. 

At-Home Dental Care For Your Feline Friend

Maintaining your cat's daily oral hygiene routine for your cat could help to keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their lifetime. In order to make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, it's important to start establishing their daily oral hygiene while your cat is still a kitten. This way, your feline friend will be moire accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a very young age. 

Your goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:

  1. Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
  2. 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 you vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats like beef or chicken.
  3. 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. 
  4. Don't expect too much from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times your try this process. That's okay though. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated. 
  5. Remain calm and be sure to give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task each day.

Be Patient & Adaptable While Your Cat Gets Used to the Process

How successful you are at cleaning your cat's teeth will largely depend on your pet's temperament and personality. Make sure you are relaxed, 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 gell with their fingers that they allow to do 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.

Yearly Dental Checkups For Cats

To make sure your cat's mouth remains free of pain and as healthy as possible, our vets advise that you make annual dental visits a part of your feline friend's routine healthcare. Our vets will check in on your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical healthy and let you know if any professional cleaning or surgical services will be required to help restore your pet's good health. 

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.

Has your cat had a dental checkup in the last year? Contact our Bear Valley Animal Hospital vets today to book your cat a dental cleaning and exam.