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How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth

Much like humans, cats can suffer from painful dental health issues due to injury or poor oral hygiene. But what exactly constitutes good oral hygiene for cats, and what kind of dental care do they need? Our Babcock Ranch veterinarians explain how to clean your cat's mouth and maintain their dental health.

Your Cat's Dental Health

Cats are stoic creatures adept at hiding pain. They may suffer from painful oral health issues without showing any signs of discomfort. Because of this, owners need to be vigilant about their feline companions' oral health and ensure their teeth are kept clean. By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you can detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatments.

Why is cat teeth cleaning important?

Establishing a daily dental hygiene routine for your cat could help maintain their teeth and gums' health throughout their life. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home easier and less stressful, start establishing a daily oral hygiene routine when they are still kittens. This way, your cat will become accustomed to having its teeth brushed and its mouth touched from a young age.

Make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free part of their daily routine. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:

  1. Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
  2. Start slowly; your cat may only tolerate having a couple of teeth brushed initially. This is about building trust and preventing agitation.
  3. Remain calm and offer lots of praise and a treat after each session to reinforce positive associations.
  4. Once your cat is comfortable with daily gum massages, gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush and cat toothpaste. Cat toothpaste comes in various flavors, such as beef or chicken, that cats find appealing.
  5. 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. 

How to clean my cat's teeth at home?

The success of cleaning your cat's teeth will depend largely on their temperament. Stay calm, flexible, and patient, adapting your approach to your cat's tolerance level. Some owners find success with gauze or finger brushes, while others prefer dental gel applied with their fingers.

When brushing your cat's teeth, focus on the gum line, working quickly but stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It may take weeks for your cat to tolerate a full teeth cleaning session.

If brushing proves too difficult, consider alternatives such as plaque remover additives in their water, specially designed chew toys, or dental treats.

Annual Dental Exams For Cats

To ensure your cat's mouth stays healthy and pain-free, our veterinarians recommend annual professional dental care as part of your cat's preventive healthcare routine. A dental appointment includes an oral health evaluation, x-rays if necessary, and a thorough cleaning. If your cat has mouth injuries, tooth loss, or severe decay, your vet will provide recommendations for care or surgery.

How to prevent tartar accumulation in your cat's teeth after the procedure?

These tips can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup in your cat's mouth:

Brush Your Cat's Teeth

Brushing your cat's teeth regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Aim to brush your cat's teeth at least once a week, if not daily.

Start slowly with toothpaste designed for cats, gradually introducing a toothbrush as your cat becomes accustomed to the process.

Dental Treats &  Specialized Food

Dental treats and specialized cat food can aid in oral hygiene by removing food debris and reducing plaque and tartar buildup.

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 dog's next veterinary dental cleaning and oral health exam? Contact our Babcock Ranch veterinarians today to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Animal Hospital at Babcock is welcoming new patients. Our team provides compassionate care to you and your animal companions. Book your appointment today!


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