Your cat's oral health can directly affect their overall health. This makes keeping their mouths clean and healthy very important. Here, our White Hall vets talk about how to clean your cat's teeth at home and the benefits of professional veterinary dental care.
The Importance of Dental Care
If you've ever had a toothache, then you know how uncomfortable it can be. It's quite similar for your cat if they are experiencing a dental condition. Unfortunately, many cats will do everything they can to hide these symptoms from you until their condition is much more advanced. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean.
With routine care and at-home oral hygiene, you can help protect their teeth and mouth and avoid invasive treatments that would otherwise be needed.
How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth at Home
Caring for and cleaning your cat's teeth at home is an important step in keeping their mouth healthy. This step will include brushing their teeth each day when possible. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
While brushing should be a simple way to keep your cat's teeth clean each day, some cats aren't always on board with it. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to help make it a smooth process. Wait for a moment when your cat seems relaxed, then start with these steps:
- Gently lift your cat's lips. Using your finger, you can massage the teeth and soft structures in their mouth.
- Remember that it will take time for your cat to adjust to teeth cleaning. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times you try this process. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated.
- 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 for the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task each day.
- 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 by licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Don't Rush Your Cat Into Teeth Cleaning
Keep in mind that how you act while trying to brush your cat's teeth will have a large effect on how your cat responds. Make sure you are calm, relaxed, flexible, and willing to adapt your approach to your cat's level of tolerance. Many 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 they allow to do the work for them.
After a while, your cat will relax and become accustomed to teeth brushing. At this point, you can begin to brush toward the gum line. Don't forget that it may take some time before your cat begins to accept the teeth-cleaning routine.
You should be cautious when cleaning your cat's teeth. If they are stressed during the process, they may be able to injure you through scratching or biting.
Professional Dental Care at Hunter's Animal Hospital
Another key part of a complete oral health care routine will be professional dental cleanings and examinations. Taking your cat for a dental appointment is like visiting the cat dentist. Your vet will evaluate your cat's oral health, take X-rays if required, and do a thorough cleaning. If your cat is suffering from a mouth injury, tooth loss, or severe decay, your dentist will provide you with recommendations regarding care or surgery to treat your cat's oral health issues.
Once back home, you can help to keep your cat's teeth clean and healthy with daily brushing, using the steps outlined above. You can also add plaque remover additives to their drinking water, get them specially designed chew toys, or provide them with tasty dental treats.
To find out more about dental care for cats at our White Hall animal hospital, check out our dentistry page.
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.