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Cat Teeth Cleaning: How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth

Cats can develop oral diseases, just like humans. To maintain your kitty's oral and overall health, you'll need to clean their teeth daily. Here, our vets in Oak Grove tell you everything you need to know about cleaning your cat's teeth, so they'll have excellent oral health into their senior years. 

Your Cat's Oral Health 

A cat's oral health is closely linked to their overall health and well-being. Your cat uses their mouth, teeth and gums to eat and vocalize, so if their oral structures become damaged or diseased, they stop functioning properly and your cat experiences pain. This pain interferes with their ability to eat and communicate normally. 

Additionally, bacteria and infection cause many oral health issues in cats, and won't remain confined to your kitty's mouth. Left untreated, infection and bacteria that develop in your cat's mouth can begin to make their way through your cat's body, damaging their heart, liver, kidneys and other organs. This can severely impact your feline friend's overall health and longevity. 

The Importance of Keeping Your Cat's Teeth Clean

Cats tend to mask pain or discomfort, so even the most doting kitty owner may not notice if infection has developed and potentially threatening their oral and overall health. This is why cat parents need to be aware of their feline friend's oral health and understand how to keep their teeth clean. 

Bring Your Cat to Your Vet for Annual Dental Checkups 

Cats should have a dental checkup as part of their annual visit to the veterinarian to keep debris and tartar from building up on their teeth. During this appointment, your vet will assess your cat's oral health, along with their general physical health, and let you know if they require a professional veterinary dental cleaning or surgery

Introduce a Daily Dental Care Routine 

Just like us, our cats need a daily oral health and dental care routine to make sure their teeth remain as clean and healthy as possible. It's a good idea to get your kitty used to having their teeth brushed when they're young. 

Consult your vet before trying to brush your cat's teeth, as even kittens may have oral health issues that will need correcting before their teeth can be brushed. 

As you might imagine, you'll want to ease your cat into this routine, so wait until she's calm and relaxed. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Lift the lips gently, then use your finger to massage the cat's teeth and gums for a few seconds. 
  2. Start with low-key expectations – you might only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this. Stop before your cat becomes too annoyed. 
  3. Offer lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth and gum massage. Your goal is to build your cat's tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task. 
  4. Once your kitty has become used to having you massage her teeth and gums on a regular basis, you can gradually introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste designed especially for cats (never use your own toothpaste, as it contains ingredients that are toxic to our feline companions). Look for flavors that appeal to them, such as beef or chicken.
  5. Start brushing 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 (you may even have the opportunity to test a few different flavors). Find a brush with soft bristles made for cats’ delicate gums.

While some cat owners find success with a small piece of soft gauze, others find a finger brush works well for their felines. Still others apply dental gel with a toothbrush or a finger and let the gel do the work for them.

Whether you use teeth brushing, special treats or food, chew toys or drinking water additives, there are several products out there that can help with keeping your cat’s teeth clean. Of course, they’ll also need a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified veterinarian to keep their teeth in tip-top condition.

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.

Is it time for your cat's dental cleaning? Call our vets in Oak Grove to book an appointment.

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Oak Grove Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinarians are passionate about animal health and are proud to serve our patients. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment and to get started.

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