Good dental health is essential for the overall well-being of our cats. Our veterinarians at Somerset will guide you on the best practices to care for your cat's teeth and maintain their oral health. We'll also help you recognize signs of dental problems in your pet and highlight the advantages of professional dental care for pets
Dental Health for Cats
Like humans, cats also require regular dental care from their veterinarian. However, many of our beloved pets do not receive dental care as often as they should, leading to common health issues such as plaque buildup, dental disease, and periodontal disease. Since cats are skilled at hiding their pain, it can be challenging to determine if they are experiencing oral health problems without them showing discomfort.
To address this concern, cat owners should regularly clean their cat's teeth, schedule dental exams and cleanings, and closely monitor their furry companion's oral health. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of early detection of oral health problems and can potentially prevent your cat from experiencing pain and costly treatment.
How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth
Maintaining your cat's dental health is an ongoing responsibility. Fortunately, you can begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your kitten at an early stage. By doing so, they can become accustomed to having their teeth cleaned, resulting in a simple and stress-free at-home dental care routine in the long run.
To begin, choose a moment when your cat is calm and relaxed, and then follow these steps:
- Lift your cat's lips gently before using your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few seconds.
- Don't place too many expectations on your cat at first. You may only end up reaching a couple of teeth the first few times you attempt to brush. That's okay; this is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated.
- Stay calm and make sure to provide lots of praise and a delicious kitty treat after your teeth-and-gum massage session. You're aiming to build your cat's tolerance for the experience. Gradually increase the length of time you spend on this task every day.
- Once your cat has become used to their daily gum massage, you'll be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush (get one at your vet's or pet store) and some special cat toothpaste. These toothpastes can be found in a range of great flavors cats love, such as chicken or beef.
- Begin by introducing the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat might start with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger. Place the brush bristles at a 45-degree angle where the teeth and gum meet, then use a gentle oval pattern to reach 3 to 4 teeth at a time while you move the bristles around the teeth.
- Complete 10 short oval motions before shifting the toothbrush to a new location in the mouth. Focus on the outside upper teeth since they do the most chewing.
How to Tell If Your Cat Has a Dental Health Problem
Do you suspect your cat has a dental health issue? If you notice these common symptoms, it's time to schedule a visit to the vet.
- Loose or broken teeth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Teeth with discoloration or tartar buildup
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Foul odor coming from the mouth
Maintaining Your Cat's Hygiene Routine
Along with brushing, using oral rinses and gels can help fight plaque on your cat's teeth. Chlorhexidine is the most effective antiseptic for preventing plaque buildup. Apply this rinse by squirting a small amount inside the cheek on each side of the mouth. Apply the gel directly to the teeth using a brush or finger (keep in mind that many cats object to the taste of these products even if they are flavored).
For severe plaque issues, a special dental diet approved by your vet may be beneficial. It may consist of kibble designed or containing substances that bind and aid in breaking down plaque or tartar. While dental chew treats can be used in addition to tooth brushing, they should not replace your cat's daily oral hygiene routine.
Annual Dental Checkups for Cats
To keep your cat's mouth pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians advise scheduling annual dental care visits as part of their preventive healthcare routine. During these visits, your Midway Veterinary Hospital veterinarian will assess both your pet's oral health and overall physical well-being. If necessary, they will recommend professional dental cleaning or surgery to restore your cat's optimal health.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.