Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is the most effective at-home treatment to keep your cat’s mouth as healthy as can be! More than half of all cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease. Dental disease usually starts as gingivitis from plaque that is not removed regularly. Gingivitis may progress when plaque is left untreated which may be painful and ultimately lead to tooth loss.
How to get started brushing your cat’s teeth?
The American Veterinary Dental College advises cat parents to start brushing your cat’s teeth to slowly. They suggest letting your cat get used to having their mouth area touched by taking a moment each day to gently rub their face and lift up their lips to look in the mouth. As your cat becomes more comfortable try using a small amount of toothpaste on your finger for them to lick off.
Using Feline toothpaste while brushing your cat’s teeth takes time to build up. You can even begin brushing just using coconut oil. However, feline toothpaste comes in flavors like chicken and seafood which they may enjoy, and view as a treat.
First, rub your finger gently over their teeth to start and once they get used to the feeling, you can upgrade to a finger toothbrush. Using an actual feline toothbrush should be a gradual progression when brushing your cat’s teeth. Don’t forget: You should never brush your cat’s teeth with a human toothbrush or human toothpaste, which contains ingredients that can irritate their stomach and make them very sick.
When should I brush my cat’s teeth?
Brushing your cat’s teeth daily decreases plaque and prevents tartar accumulation. It will take some practice and training to get your cat used to brushing his or her teeth daily, but it will be relatively easy once they become used to the process. Brushing your cat’s teeth daily is most beneficial and will help to establish a good routine. If this is not manageable, then brushing a minimum of 3 times a week is advised. It is best to teach your cat to accept brushing when they are young. If you have an older cat, the process may take a little longer, but it is still worth the effort.
What are some alternatives to brushing your cat’s teeth?
There really is no equal substitute for brushing your cat’s teeth but there are some supplemental things you can try. Using a water additive is one of the easiest ways to help clean your cat’s teeth! Veterinarians may recommend cat oral care water additive to help fight plaque and tartar for healthy teeth and gums as an alternative to brushing your cat’s teeth.
Silvervine chew sticks are another alternative to brushing your cat’s teeth. Silvervine can effectively eliminate dental plaque and tartar, help bad breath, and protect oral health. As they chew on the stick, it can clean your cat’s teeth and help prevent gum disease.
Topical oral gels are an easy and effective way to provide dental care for cats as an alternative to brushing your cat’s teeth. Apply directly to the cat’s teeth and gums, where it coats and adheres to the teeth and helps to reduce tartar and plaque buildup.Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is the most effective at-home treatment to keep your cat's mouth healthy. Click To Tweet
What are the warning signs to dental disease in cats?
While different oral health issues will have different specific symptoms, here are some signs to look for in your cat. If you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms there is a chance your cat may be suffering from some form of dental disease. Symptoms of dental disease include:
- bad breath
- excessive drooling
- weight loss
- missing or loose teeth
- visible tartar
- difficulty with or slow eating
- bleeding, swollen or noticeable red gums
- pawing at their teeth or mouth
If you notice any of the above signs of dental disease in your cat, bring them to your vet as soon as possible for an exam.
Does your cat need a dental procedure?
Here are some questions you should ask at your appointment:
- How is my pet monitored under anesthesia?
- Is the pet intubated and their airway protected from debris?
- Who will be monitoring the anesthesia?
- How often do you perform this procedure?
- What equipment do you have to perform this procedure?
- Does my pet need advanced imaging like intra-oral radiographs or CT?
- Do you use sterile equipment on each patient?
- Who performs your surgical extractions?
- Are there alternatives and options to treat my pet’s disease or problem?
- Could a root canal be performed to save any fractured teeth?
- What are the risks and complications associated with this dental procedure?
- Who will be with my pet as it recovers from anesthesia?
- Does your facility offer 24-hour care?
- Who do you refer to if my cat needs 24-hour care?
More than half of cats over the age of three have some form of periodontal disease. Click To Tweet
What’s Feline Stomatitis?
Feline stomatitis is when a cat is in chronic and severe pain accompanied by inflammation of the gums. Data shows that about 4% of the cat population suffers from this viral infection. Brushing your cat’s teeth can help minimize this risk. Feline stomatitis comes in two different forms. The first one is the gum inflammation around that cat’s teeth. Meanwhile, the second type is known as faucitis or caudal stomatitis and it infects the back part of the mouth, specifically where the upper and lower jaws touch.
Researchers are still trying to find the cause for stomatitis and to learn how the virus alters the cat’s immune system. What is clear is that bacteria and dental disease play a role in the development. You can ask your vet for a Magic Mouth Wash recipe to help reduce inflammation if your cat suffers from stomatitis. This could also indicate larger issues in the body like kidney disease. Make sure to talk with your veterinarian if think your cat could be suffering from stomatitis. Keep your cat well hydrated and supplement with a good probiotic to help decrease inflammation.
What else do you need to know about brushing your cat’s teeth?
It’s important to note that a cat’s mouth does contain a lot of bacteria. Wear gloves while brushing your cat’s teeth and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you are finished. Rinse your cat’s toothbrush after each to help decrease bacterial growth. Replace the toothbrush every three months like our own, and if you have several cats, use a different toothbrush for each one.
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