Getting Started With Fuss-Free Cat Dental Care

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on January 31, 2024

February, being Pet Dental Care Month, is the perfect time to start focusing on your cat’s dental health. Just like humans, cats need regular dental care to prevent disease and ensure overall health. Establishing a dental care routine for your cat can seem daunting, especially if your cat is not a fan of having their teeth cleaned. But don’t worry, we’ll help you get started and maintain a healthy dental routine for your feline friend.

Most people don’t understand how important cat oral health can be. Poor dental hygiene can lead to problems like tartar build-up, gum disease, and tooth decay, contributing to more serious health issues affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. Regular dental care not only keeps your cat’s teeth clean but also helps in the early detection of potential problems.

cat dental health

4 Benefits of Regular Dental Care

Taking care of your cat’s dental health is not just a chore, it’s a pathway to ensuring they live a long, happy life. Check out the benefits for your cat:

#1 – Prevention of Oral Diseases and Tooth Loss: Just like us, cats can suffer from gum disease and tooth decay. Regular brushing removes plaque and prevents tartar build-up, keeping those kitty teeth pearly white and healthy. No more worrying about painful tooth problems or expensive dental procedures down the line.

RELATED: 5 Symptoms Of Feline Dental Disease

#2 – Better Breath – Hello, Kitty Kisses!: Ever been up close and personal with your cat only to get a whiff of not-so-pleasant breath? Regular dental care transforms those moments. Imagine your cat greeting you with a gentle nuzzle or a sweet ‘kitty kiss,’ and all you smell is… well, fresh cat breath! Fresh breath makes those close snuggles and face-to-face moments so much more enjoyable.

#3 – Early Detection of Potential Health Issues: Regular dental care isn’t just about teeth; it’s a gateway to your cat’s overall health. When you’re up close and personal during brushing, you’re in a prime position to notice any anomalies—like swollen gums, loose teeth, or unusual growths. Early detection can lead to quicker treatments and better outcomes.

#4 – An Overall Happier and Healthier Cat: A cat free from dental discomfort is a happy cat. They’ll eat better, play more, and show more affection. In turn, you’ll feel the joy and peace of mind knowing you’re providing the best care for your furry friend.

So, grab that toothbrush and get to it—your cat’s health (and those sweet kitty kisses) will thank you!

Getting the Right Cat Dental Tools 

To begin, you’ll need a few essential tools. These include:

#1 – Cat-Specific Toothbrush: Choose small, soft-bristled toothbrushes designed for cats. If you’re just getting started with brushing your cat’s teeth, check out this 8-Piece Toothbrush Set that comes with a traditional toothbrush, silicone bristle toothbrushes, and finger toothbrushes. It’s a good way to see what style you and your cat prefer.

#2 – Cat Toothpaste: Never use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to cats. Choose a cat-friendly toothpaste, preferably in a flavor they’ll like. Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste for Cats & Dogs offers a poultry flavor that will make teeth cleaning a little easier because kitties will think they’re being offered a tasty snack.

Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste for Cats & Dogs
  • Delicious poultry-flavored enzymatic solution
  • Helps eliminate bad breath and combats harmful germ growth
  • Non-foaming cat toothpaste 
  • Triple enzyme formula 
  • Can be safely swallowed without rinsing

#3 – Dental Treats and Chews: These can help reduce tartar and plaque build-up while your kitty enjoys munching a treat. Feline GREENIES are a popular option among cats. Toss them one or two and the unique shape and crunchy texture will clean teeth, reduce tartar, and freshen breath. 

#4 – Dental Wipes: For cats that absolutely refuse a toothbrush, HICC PET Teeth Cleaning Wipes offer a solution that should be easy for you both. Just slip one of these finger wipes over your finger and rub your cat’s teeth. The blend of coconut oil, baking soda, tea polyphenol, and aloe on a textured wipe delivers a gentle, yet thorough cleaning.

HICC PET Teeth Cleaning Wipes
  • Slip textured wipe on finger to gently clean teeth
  • Uniquely patented organic coconut oil fermented technology
  • Perfect for dogs & cats with sensitive teeth, gums, and enamel
  • Alcohol-free, with no parabens & fragrances
  • Safe if licked or ingested

#5 – Water Additives or Dental Rinses: These can help in reducing bacteria in the mouth by simply adding a small amount to your cat’s water dish or fountain. Oxyfresh Pet Water Additive is a veterinarian-recommended oral care water additive that helps fight plaque and tartar for healthy teeth and gums by simply sipping some water. Pour in a capful to start your cat’s dental care routine.

Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Care Solution Pet Water Additive
  • Simply add a capful to water bowl or fountain
  • Freshens and cleans without brushing
  • Tasteless and odorless
  • Flavor, dye, and alcohol-free
  • Made in the USA

Introducing Dental Care to Your Cat

Start slowly and be patient. It’s all about making your cat comfortable with the process.

  1. Familiarization: Let your cat sniff and taste the toothpaste and toothbrush. Make this a positive experience, maybe with a treat or two.
  2. Touching the Mouth: Gently stroke the outside of your cat’s mouth and slowly progress to lifting their lips to expose the gums and teeth.
  3. Brushing Teeth: Once your cat is comfortable, gently brush one or two teeth and the adjoining gum line. Gradually increase the number of teeth you clean over time.
  4. Praise and Rewards: Always end the session with praise and a treat to build a positive association.

RELATED: The Top Tips For Training Your Cat

Dealing with a Cat Who Hates Teeth Cleaning

When your feline friend turns into a little lion at the sight of a toothbrush, don’t despair. Here are some tips:

  • Dental Wipes: For the toothbrush-averse cat, dental wipes can be a godsend. They’re less invasive but still effective in wiping away plaque. Try to make it a soothing experience, gently massaging the gums and teeth with the wipe.
  • Dental Treats and Toys: Engage your cat’s natural instincts to chew with treats and toys designed to clean teeth. These products are made to be irresistible and, while they play or munch away, they’re also fighting tartar and plaque.
  • Professional Cleanings: Sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the pros. Regular veterinary cleanings can ensure a deep clean that’s difficult to achieve at home. Plus, your vet can offer personalized advice and solutions for your cat’s dental care.
  • Patience and Persistence: Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. Gradually introducing dental care routines, with lots of positive reinforcement, can slowly but surely change your cat’s attitude towards oral hygiene.

With these strategies, you’ll make strides in maintaining your cat’s dental health, even if they’re not the biggest fan of teeth cleaning! For more information on keeping a healthy feline from whiskers to tail, these 9 Tips To Help Your Cat Live A Long, Healthy Life are just purrfect.

brush cat teeth

A Clean Mouth is Part of a Happy Cat

Starting a dental care routine for your cat might seem challenging, but with patience and the right tools, it’s definitely achievable. Remember, the goal is to keep your cat’s mouth healthy, so find a routine that works for you and your feline. Celebrate Pet Dental Care Month by taking that first step towards your cat’s dental health today!

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