Oral health issues can be just as painful for our feline friends as they are for us. Despite this, most US cats don't get the dental health support they need, leading to most feline companions suffering from dental disease. Our Richmond vets explain the best dental health practices for keeping your cat's mouth clean and healthy.
Cat Dental Health
Cats are quite adept at hiding their pain. They may actually be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever letting on that they are uncomfortable. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. 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 expensive treatment.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Family Member
To make sure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventive 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 good health.
How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth
A daily oral hygiene routine for your cat can help to make sure their teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin your cat's oral hygiene routine while your kitty is still young. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
Your goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:
- Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- 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 your try this process. That's okay though. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated.
- Remain calm and be sure to 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.
- 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.
- Begin using the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
The degree to which you are able to brush your cat's teeth will largely depend on their temperament. Make sure you are flexible and adapt your approach to how tolerant your cat is of the process. Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their teeth with some gauze, some find a finger brush works well and others apply a dental gel with their fingers that they let do the work for them.
When you finally begin brushing your cat's teeth successfully, move along the gum line, working quickly but stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It could be weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of their teeth cleaned during a single session.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process they may react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys, or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
As well as your efforts to keep your kitty's teeth clean and healthy, they’ll also need a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified vet to keep their teeth in optimal condition.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our Greensboro animal hospital check out our dentistry page.
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.