Cleaning cats’ teeth
Cats’ teeth may not be like ours, but they still require care and attention in order to help keep them healthy. Just like human teeth, cats’ teeth accumulate plaque over time. If this is left unmonitored, this will harden to form tartar. Over time a build-up of tartar can lead to more serious dental conditions such as gingivitis, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. This is why cleaning cats’ teeth regularly is so important.
If you’re worried your cat might have a dental condition, there are several warning signs to look out for:
- Bad breath – if your cat’s breath is noticeably bad, it may be a good time to examine his/her mouth.
- Reddened or bleeding gums – if your cat’s gums are redder than usual, or there is any blood, it may be a sign of gum disease (gingivitis).
- Drooling – excessive drooling can be indicative of dental disease in cats.
- Problems chewing – if your cat is chewing on one side of his/her mouth or dropping food regularly then it could be the symptom of a dental condition. They may also be experiencing discomfort. Problems chewing can also lead to weight loss.
- Pawing at the mouth – this is an indicator that your cat feels some discomfort.
How to clean your cat’s teeth
Cleaning cats’ teeth is not always the easiest job. Usually older cats are more resistant to the idea, so starting a dental routine when your cat is young can help get them used to the process before he or she becomes more mature. To introduce cat teeth cleaning, you can use a finger cot or gauze, in combination with cat toothpaste. (Warning: it’s important not to brush your cat’s teeth with toothpaste designed for humans, as this can make your cat ill.)
As with human teeth, cleaning is not effective unless a regular routine is established. Brushing regularly with specially formulated cat toothpaste should help keep a cat’s mouth clean and healthy. A good teeth cleaning procedure can be found below but if you’re unsure about the process or worried about harming your cat, then ask your vet for a cat teeth cleaning demonstration.
Alternatives to brushing cats’ teeth
In a perfect world, your cat would wait for you with their mouth open wide in anticipation of their brushing session. In reality, however, some cats will remain resistant to the idea of brushing no matter how hard you try. Instead of distressing your cat, you can talk to your vet about alternatives such as oral hygiene gels which can be mixed into your cat’s food. Cleaning cats’ teeth using fibre-containing chews is another option that can help to reduce plaque by scraping the teeth.
Playing with chewable toys can also help reduce the build-up of plaque, and many dry foods are designed to help care for your cat’s dental health, too.
The best dental routine for cats is still a healthy, balanced diet paired with regular tooth brushing.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Don’t wait until your cat shows signs of dental distress before having their teeth examined. Many cats only show signs of distress when their dental hygiene has already become problematic. Without frequent monitoring, minor teeth-related conditions can become more serious. For this reason, it’s advisable to arrange regular cat teeth cleaning sessions at home and regular dental check-ups with the vet. Along with a suitable diet, these are great ways to maintain dental health and to ensure that your cat’s mouth remains clean and healthy.
Establishing a regular dental routine for your cat is a great way to help your pet’s teeth remain healthy throughout his or her life.