cat dental health

We all know that dogs need to have their teeth brushed but did you know that your cat needs it too?

The idea of brushing your cats teeth may be daunting, but it can be much easier that you think. Here are some tips to get your cat

1. Bad breath or BAAAAAAD breath?

Most people don’t think about a cat’s breath until they come across a cat with really bad breath. Typically by the time your notice that your cat has bad breath, it means there is an issue. Ok, let’s define bad breath. No cat is going to have minty fresh breath. Their breath will often smell like cat food. What you are looking for is breath that is really gross and offensive. Take a quick whiff of your cats breath and if you notice an abnormally strong odor, he may have a digestive issue or a gum condition like gingivitis. So if your cat has super stinky breath it is likely time to take him to the vet and get a teeth cleaning and a checkup.

2. It’s in the lips

You can tell so much about your pet’s health by looking at their gums. Lift up your cat’s lips and take a look at her gums. The should be firm and pink, not white or red. They should show no signs of swelling. The teeth should be white and clean of any brownish tartar, and they should not be loose or broken. If you see brownish tartar, swollen red gums or broken teeth, it may be time for a dental exam.

3. A problem mouth

How do you know if your cat has a problem with his mouth. These symptoms are what you should look out for and could indicate a problem with your cats dental health:

  • Dark red line along the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive pawing at the mouth area

4. The Danger of Swelling

Swelling is never good. Swelling is always a sign that something is wrong, whether it is on the body or in the mouth. At any sign of gum inflammation, you should take your cat in for a veterinary exam. If left untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease orFeline Immunodeficiency Virus.

5. The Lowdown on Tooth Decay

Cat’s are not that different than people. They get plaque and tartar just like we do, and for the same reasons. Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup on a cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. Regular brushing and teeth cleanings can prevent tooth decay.

6. Your Cat’s Tooth Brush

All you’ll need to brush your cat’s teeth are cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest the brushing supplies that he trusts, and be sure NEVER to use toothpaste designed for people-the ingredients can be unhealthy for your cat.

7. Brushing Your Cats Teeth

We promise it is easier than it sounds, here are the simple steps for brushing your cat’s teeth. Many cat’s even like it once they get use to it.

  • Get your cat used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Start by gently massaging her gums with your fingers or touching a cotton swab to them.
  • After a few times, put a little bit of cat-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Then, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats-it will be smaller than human toothbrushes and have softer bristles. There are finger-cot toothbrushes as well that may be easier for you to use.
  • Lastly, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A vet dental health exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your cat’s gums are inflamed. Many cats have mild gingivitis and brushing too hard can hurt their gums.

8. Dental Diet

Your cats diet, much like your own, affects their dental health. Some cat food is high in ingredients that may cause tartar which leads to plaque and tooth decay.  If your cat has dental problems you may want to feed him food that will help prevent dental health issues like tartar and tooth decay. Talk to your vet about food options.

9. The Professional

After all the at-home care, sometimes you just need to get their teeth cleaned. Your vet can quickly, safely, and easily clean your cat’s teeth. It is a simple procedure done in the office. Just like with people, all the brushing in the world can’t keep the dentist away, but it will reduce gum disease, periodontal disease, cavities, and bone loss. An annual cleaning will get the tartar and plaque that the brush doesn’t get off. It is a good idea to get your cat’s teeth cleaned annually. Call and make your appointment today