Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Your Cat’s Teeth So when they bite, it's OK (not really)

Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Your Cat’s Teeth happymay / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to feline dental care, you’d be surprised at how many owners are unaware of some of the serious health problems that a lack of proper care can create. There have been several studies done about improper dental care among domesticated cats, all of which show that nearly 90% of cats will develop some type of dental problems over the course of their lifetimes.

What does this mean for your pet cat? Wondering what some of the best ways for taking care of your cat’s teeth are? We have you covered. Below we go into detail about some of the best ways for giving your cat the dental care that it deserves. Diet-related problems, home-based remedies, and more are all reviewed in the following sections.

The Problems That Improper Dental Care Can Cause

Just like with humans, improper dental care habits can cause a wide range of issues (all of which can develop into more serious complications). Gum disease, tartar/plaque buildup, etc. are some of the more minor problems. However, if these problems are left untreated they can quickly turn into abscesses, make your cat’s teeth fall out, and lead to severe infections.

Dental disease in cats is most commonly present in animals that haven’t been properly taken care of by their owners. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are among the two leading problems that a fairly large majority of cats will experience. These issues typically stem from poor diets and the teeth not being properly maintained/cared for (i.e. brushed regularly).

Felines are natural carnivores (“hypercarnivores,” in fact), which means that their teeth need to be very strong (to handle the tasks of catching prey, chewing meat, etc.). This is where poor diet habits come into play - if a cat is eating poorly (e.g. dry cat food that’s not high in protein) than it will undoubtedly experience some level of teeth degradation (which can lead to all of the problems we previously mentioned).

There are actually specially-formulated cat foods that contain ingredients proven to boost dental health. Products such as Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care Cat Food online are a good option if your cat is prone to dental issues.

How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

The number one thing that you should focus on is diet. Second to diet, you need to understand that cats need their teeth brushed. These two factors are some of the main reasons why feline dental disease is so common in the US - owners aren’t feeding their cats properly, and they’re also not brushing their pets’ teeth.  

If you’re like most cat owners, you might have some problems trying to brush your pet’s teeth. However, getting your cat used to brushing might take some time, so it’s important that you keep at it (until you’re able to regularly brush them). Keeping the brushing sessions shorter rather than longer, and dispersing them throughout the day is one strategy that works for a lot of owners.

Some cats might not respond well to brushing. This is okay, and can generally be mitigated through some simple tactics:

  • Use a toothbrush made specifically for cats
  • Use toothpaste made for felines
  • Always give your pet a reward after brushing their teeth (this will entice them to sit through the next session if they know there’s a reward at the end)

Taking Your Cat for a Cleaning

Most owners might not know that this service exists, but it does. Feline dental cleaning is a thing, and it’s becoming very popular in the US. Think of it as the same thing as what you get when you go to the dentist for a cleaning, just for your cat.

The only difference between the two is that the vet will need to place your cat under anesthesia. Keep in mind, that dental cleaning at the vet’s office is typically only done for advanced cases or plaque/tartar buildup (and/or the development of dental lesions) that can’t be treated at home.

Depending on the age, breed, location, and medical history of your cat, your vet might recommend regular cleanings (or only recommend a cleaning once every year). Whatever your cat’s current dental health level is, there’s a chance that you can be doing more to take it to the next level. Incorporating some routine brushing, and improving their food, are two of the best ways to enhance the health of your cat’s teeth.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean

We all know how meticulous cats are when it comes to keeping themselves clean. You can frequently see them clean every corner of their body, right from the tip of their tail till their paws and whiskers. They are such sticklers for cleanliness that we don’t have to spend a lot on grooming products for cats. However, there is one place that not even the most flexible cat can reach and clean, and that’s their teeth. Ever since cats have been domesticated, they lost the chance to keep their teeth clean by chewing on grass and bones. So how do you keep their teeth clean? Here are 5 tips that will help you in keeping the teeth of your cats sparkly.

Keeping the teeth clean

  1. Clean their teeth on a regular basisIt might be hard to brush the teeth of your cat initially, but as they get accustomed to the routine, it will become easier to clean all the teeth of your cat. Use a toothbrush for cats or a gauze or a finger cot to reach and remove the dirt stuck in the teeth. If you can’t use cat toothpaste, use a tuna water dip instead.
  2. Give treats that aid in clean teethThere are many products available in the market that are specifically made to clean the teeth of cats by controlling the growth of plaque and tartar. However, don’t consider replacing regular brushing with treats.
  3. Stimulate the gumMassage the gums of your cat regardless of how clean you keep the mouth and teeth of the cat. Stimulating the gums regularly will strengthen the gums, preventing your kitty from getting gum problems frequently. Also, if there is inflammation or irritation, a massage can accelerate the healing process.
  4. Maintain a healthy diet for the teethAll the efforts you put into brushing the teeth of your cat will be pointless if you don’t feed them the right kind of food for healthy and clean teeth. For your feline friends, use a combination of wet and dry foods and different varieties of meat. You can also give them bones that are over cooked to remove tartar. Remember, variety is the spice of life.
  5. Use dental productsThere are a variety of dental products that are available in your local pet store that can keep the teeth of your kitty clean. You can use dental gel, chew toys for cats, dental wipes, drinking water additives, and dental cat food to keep the teeth as clean as possible.

By using all the above tips, it will be easy to maintain good dental health for your cats. Foul breath, tooth decay, and gum inflammation will be a thing of the past.

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