Cats can have dental issues from injury or poor hygiene. To help you maintain your cat's dental health, our veterinarians at Tracy offer guidance on how to clean your cat's mouth and keep their teeth healthy.
Your Cat's Dental Health
Cats are known for being strong and not showing their pain easily. They could be experiencing oral health problems that cause them discomfort without revealing it. To ensure your feline friend's oral health, monitoring and cleaning their teeth frequently is crucial. By doing so, you can identify any oral health issues early on and prevent your cat from experiencing pain and costly treatment.
Caring For Your Cat's Teeth At Home
Taking care of your cat's dental hygiene on a daily basis can help ensure that their teeth and gums stay healthy for the duration of their life. To make the process of cleaning your cat's teeth at home as simple and worry-free as possible, it's best to establish a daily oral hygiene routine while your cat is still a kitten.
This will allow your cat to become accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth handled from an early age.
In order to make brushing your cat's teeth a hassle-free and effortless part of their daily routine, it's important to start by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed. Once they are ready, follow these steps:
- Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Be Patient While Your Cat Gets Used Teeth Cleaning
The success of cleaning your cat's teeth largely depends on their temperament. To ensure a successful cleaning, it's important to approach the task calmly, with flexibility and a willingness to adapt to your cat's level of tolerance. Some cat owners find gauze to be effective, while others use finger brushes or dental gel to make the task easier.
When brushing your cat's teeth, move along the gum line quickly but stop before your cat becomes irritated. It may take weeks for your cat to tolerate having all of their teeth cleaned during a single session. If your cat becomes stressed or alarmed during the teeth-cleaning process, they may scratch or bite. In this case, it may be helpful to add plaque remover additives to their drinking water, provide them with specially designed chew toys, or offer them tasty dental treats.
Annual Dental Exams For Cats
Our veterinary experts recommend incorporating annual dental care into your cat's preventive healthcare routine to maintain a healthy and pain-free mouth. Similar to a visit to the dentist for humans, taking your cat for regular dental appointments involves evaluation of their oral health, x-rays if necessary, and a thorough cleaning. In the event that your cat is experiencing mouth injuries, tooth loss, or severe decay, your vet will provide recommendations for necessary care or surgery to address the issue.
To find out more about dental care for cats available here at our Tracy 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.