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

Dental health issues can be just as painful for your cat as they are for us, so caring for their oral health is essential. In this post, our New Hope vets share some tips on how to clean your cat's teeth and make sure they're getting the oral healthcare they need.

Your Cat's Dental Health

Cats are well-known for hiding their pain, so they may be suffering from a painful oral health issue without showing signs that they have discomfort. Because of this, owners need to keep their cat's teeth clean and have them attend regular teeth cleanings and exams by qualified professionals.

By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and the need for expensive treatment.

Cleaning Your Cat's Teeth at Home

Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat could help keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their life. We understand that brushing your cat's teeth daily may be a bit of a stretch, so try to brush their teeth at least two or three times a week.

To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, start establishing an oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are a kitten. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age, so it won't bother them as they get older.

When going to brush your cat's teeth, start 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. Don't expect too much from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times you try this process. That's okay though. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated. 
  3. Remain calm and give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task each day.
  4. Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats like beef or chicken.
  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. 

Give Your Cat Time to Get Used to the Process

How successful you are at cleaning your cat's teeth will mainly depend on your kitty's temperament. Make sure you are relaxed and flexible so that you can adapt your approach to your cat's level of tolerance.

Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their pet's teeth with some gauze, others find a finger brush works well, and others apply a dental gel with their fingers that does the work for them.

When you finally begin brushing your cat's teeth successfully, move along the gum line, working quickly so you can get as much done as you can before your cat becomes irritated. It could be weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of their teeth cleaned in a single session, so don't worry if you can't get to all of them at first.

If your cat appears stressed or alarmed as you're cleaning their teeth, they may react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty, look into adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys, or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.

Annual Dental Checkups for Cats

To keep your cat's mouth pain-free and healthy, it is recommended to make annual dental care visits to your vet's office as part of their preventative healthcare routine. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical health, and let you know if any professional dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's oral health.

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 your cat due for a dental cleaning and exam? Contact our New Hope vets to book an appointment for your kitty.

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