Proper Oral Hygiene in Cats Are you worried about your kittenโ€™s dental health? Here's what you can do to help keep their breath smelling fresh.

Proper Oral Hygiene in Cats

Are you worried about your kittenโ€™s dental health? Here's what you can do to help keep their breath smelling fresh. Learn below.

A good dental maintenance routine is essential for the overall health and happiness of your cat. It also helps prevent oral diseases from developing in your cat.


Besides, a cat that ‘meows’ fresh breath is definitely worth the effort.


Abnormal bad breath in cats and possible causes


Here’s the thing, we’re supposed to brush our teeth at least twice daily. The same cannot be said for cats.


Sadly, their basic diet can best be described as ‘raw’.


You’ve got tuna, fish, etc. and their breaths will show this. But it’s not something catastrophic (pun fully intended).


Frequent brushing should keep it in check. However, when your cat’s breath starts to smell like it should be coming out of its other end, then you should start worrying.


Poor oral hygiene is the main cause of bad breath in cats. Most cat owners are guilty of not brushing their cats’ mouths regularly.


The consequence of these is the build-up of plaque and tartar which could lead to several diseases and those awful smells from your cat’s mouth.


That said, don’t be quick to blame poor oral hygiene for Mr. Whisker’s bad breath. Other diseases can cause halitosis in cats.


Below is a list of some of these diseases –


Ø  Gingivitis

Known to be an inflammation of cat gums, Gingivitis arises due to the accumulation of bacteria and plaque build-up in a cat's mouth.


This occurs over a while and can be quite unhealthy to your cat, causing bad breath.


Ø  Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease arises when your kitty suffers from a prolonged state of gingivitis.

When gingivitis is not treated, the plaque becomes hardened (tartar) - and there's a build-up underneath your cat's gums which leads to pockets of space for bacterial growth.


Ø  Coprophagia and pica

Coprophagia and pica are both medical terms in cat relating to an eating disorder.


Coprophagia occurs when a cat eats their feces or that of another animal, while Pica occurs when a cat eats non-food things.


What?You didn't think that was normal behavior in cats, did you?


Granted, they can scratch up a storm, but cats are usually picky eaters, so, your old shoe definitely isn’t appetizing to them. And no way are they eating feces.


Such behavior warrants an urgent visit to the vet, else, a stinky mouth will be the least of your problems.


Ø  Stomatitis

When the entire oral cavity of your cat gets severely inflamed, it’ll often result in stomatitis. An unusually bad breath in a cat is a common symptom of stomatitis.


If you notice a strong foul smell from your cat's mouth, you should visit your vet for a checkup.


Ø  Diabetes

If your cat has fruity breath, then it's likely to be suffering from diabetes. The fruity smell from a diabetic cat is a sign of metabolism issues, but before you take it as a definite diagnosis, visit the vet with your cat. [1]


Treating Bad Breath in Cats


Firstly, if you notice your cat has bad breath, you should visit the vet to diagnose and treat any issues that might be causing the foul smell.


However, it’s worth mentioning that cats can have halitosis even without oral health issues.


Plaque tends to grow quite rapidly if proper oral hygiene is not kept.

This will likely lead to periodontal disease. It’s advisable that your feline dental routine includes daily tooth brushing and oral dental treats. 


Below are some practical steps you can take to help reduce the awful smell from your cat’s mouth –


ü  Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly

Cleaning your cat’s teeth regularly at home by brushing helps reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar. You must use a cat toothbrush when brushing your cat’s teeth, and make sure you do it somewhere comfortable, for you and the cat.


The toothbrush should be specially designed for their small, sharp teeth. Also, avoid using human toothpaste for your cat, instead, use toothpaste specially formulated for a cat.


ü  Using Dental treats to keep your cat’s breath fresh

Dental treats are quite an important part of your kitty's day-to-day oral hygiene routine.


How Do Dental Treats Work? 


Cat teeth are pointed and start with a total of 30 adult teeth that are non-occlusal in surface compared to the human teeth.


Chewing treats with a firm texture daily ensures slight plaque removal from underneath your cat’s teeth.


Feathers and fur from ingested prey are the natural toothbrushes of a wild cat who feeds on prey.


However, your feline companion diet comprises of small kibble that can be swallowed whole. So, you’ll need the extra help to keep their teeth clean.


Dental treats should be a little bigger than kibble to ensure abrasive cleaning of your cat's tooth surface area.


Also, dental treats are not exactly indicated for kitty canine teeth. They’d be more beneficial to the premolar and molar teeth that are primarily meant for chewing in older cats.


Vet Recommended Cat Dental Treats


It can be quite daunting to walk into a pet store and pick the right treatment for your cat.

Fortunately, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has made a list of recommended cat dental products (including dental treats) that would be of great help to your cat’s oral health.


Check it out here.


ü  Letting the vets help

If you are not up to the task of brushing your kitty mouth, or you think they need a more rigid and effective cleaning, then you should take your dog to the vet.


Here, special techniques will be used to clean their teeth. Your vet will also use a more advanced tool than you use at home.


Taking your cat to the vet for regular brushing will greatly reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar, which in turn reduces halitosis.


Your vet could also extract rotten teeth that are causing your cat pain. Of course, this won't be done daily, but an appointment now and then won't hurt anybody.


Part of having a pet, be it a cat or any other animal, is companionship. If you're lucky to have an animal you can cuddle, well, that's great. However, it'd really suck if a stinky breath prevents you from spending adequate time with your pet.


This post should help you get a handle on your cat’s breath. Be sure to give the tips a try.

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