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Cat teeth cleaning: How to support your cat’s dental health 

Cat teeth cleaning

Cat teeth cleaning and dental care play a crucial role in ensuring that your cat remains healthy and happy. If left unattended, dental problems can lead to a variety of health issues, discomfort, and poor quality of life for your feline friend. Regular dental check-ups and brushing are essential to ensure that your cat’s teeth and gums remain healthy, but the process of teeth cleaning can be unpleasant for some cats. So, how can you support your cat’s dental health? 

Table of contents 

Why is cat teething cleaning important? 

Preventive care is key to maintaining good dental hygiene in cats. Regular teeth cleaning can help prevent tartar buildup, which is a common cause of dental disease in cats. Tartar is a hard, yellowish substance that forms on the teeth when plaque is left to accumulate over time. If not removed, it can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, oral tumors and infections, and even tooth loss. 

Dental disease is a common problem in cats and can lead to serious health risks if left untreated. One of the most common dental problems in cats is periodontal disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums. This can result in inflammation, bleeding gums, bad breath, and eventually tooth loss.  

These dental issues can cause your cat to experience severe discomfort, which can affect their appetite, behavior, and overall quality of life. Additionally, dental disease can lead to more severe health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. Investing in preventive care through regular teeth cleaning can save your cat from more extensive and expensive dental procedures down the line and help them maintain good dental health for years to come. 

Signs of poor oral health in cats 

It’s important for cat owners to recognize the early signs of dental disease, including: 

  • Bad breath 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Red or swollen gums 
  • Bleeding or receding gums 
  • Loose or missing teeth 
  • Difficulty, hesitation, or discomfort when eating or when teeth are touched 

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it’s essential to schedule a dental check-up with your veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure your cat’s dental health. 

Possible causes of poor dental health in cats 

Poor dental health and periodontal disease can be caused by a lack of oral hygiene, genetics, age, breed, and diet. Additionally, certain underlying health conditions such as diabetes or autoimmune diseases can increase your cat’s risk for dental issues.   

How to clean your cat’s teeth 

When it comes to cat teeth cleaning, there are several methods pet owners can use to keep their cat’s teeth and gums healthy: 

  • Daily toothbrushing with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste may take some time for your cat to get used to, but it is the most thorough way to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Make sure to use toothpaste specifically formulated for cats, as human toothpaste can be harmful to cats. 
  • Dental chews and treats may be a good option if your cat is not a fan of toothbrushing. These can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while also freshening your cat’s breath. 
  • Water additives or oral sprays are added to your cat’s drinking water or sprayed directly into their mouth and can help reduce bacteria in the mouth, freshen breath, and promote healthy teeth and gums. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for these products. 

No matter which method of cat teeth cleaning you choose, it’s essential to establish a regular routine and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to preventing dental disease in cats, and regular teeth cleaning can help your furry friend maintain good dental health throughout their life. 

Step-by-step guide to brushing your cat’s teeth 

Brushing your cat’s teeth is the most effective way to maintain their dental health, but it can be a challenging task. Here’s a step-by-step guide to brushing your cat’s teeth: 

  1. Introduce the toothbrush and toothpaste. Start by letting your cat sniff and investigate the toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also let them taste the toothpaste to get them used to the flavor. 
  1. Gradually introduce toothbrushing. Once your cat is comfortable with the toothbrush and toothpaste, start by gently rubbing the toothbrush against their teeth and gums. You can do this with your finger at first if your cat is hesitant. 
  1. Use gentle circular motions. When brushing your cat’s teeth, use gentle circular motions along the gumline. Pay attention to the back teeth, as this is where most tartar buildup occurs. 
  1. Be patient and reward your cat. Brushing your cat’s teeth may take some time, so be patient and gentle. Reward your cat with praise or treats after each session to reinforce positive behavior. 
  1. Repeat regularly. Aim to brush your cat’s teeth at least once a day, preferably at the same time each day. Consistency is key to maintaining good dental health. 

It may take some time for your cat to get used to their toothbrushing routine. Be patient, and always make it a positive experience for your cat. With time and practice, brushing your cat’s teeth can become a stress-free part of your daily routine and your cat will be happier and healthier for it. 

Tips for successful cat teeth cleaning 

With proper training and preparation, teeth brushing can be a quick and easy daily task for you and your cat to do at home. Here are some tips for making the process easier and more comfortable for everyone: 

  1. Slow and steady. Introduce the brushing tools and process very gradually. This can help your cat become more comfortable with the routine. 
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. A soft-bristled toothbrush can help prevent gum irritation and make the brushing process more comfortable for your cat. 
  3. Choose a toothpaste with a flavor your cat likes. There are several flavors of cat-specific toothpaste available, so choose one that your cat enjoys to make the experience more enjoyable for them. 
  4. Make toothbrushing a positive experience. Reward your cat with praise, treats, or playtime after each brushing session to reinforce positive behavior and associations. 
  5. Use dental chews or toys. Dental chews and toys can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup and promote healthy teeth and gums, which can make toothbrushing sessions easier in the long run. 
  6. Be patient and gentle. Brushing your cat’s teeth can take time, so be patient and gentle. If your cat is hesitant or resistant, take a break and try again later. 
  7. Schedule regular veterinary dental check-ups. Regular dental check-ups can help detect and treat dental issues early, which can prevent discomfort for your cat and make everyday toothbrushing sessions more manageable. 
  8. Use a damp cloth for the front teeth. If your cat is resistant to having their front teeth brushed, you can use a damp cloth to gently wipe away any plaque or food debris. 

You may consider asking your veterinarian to show you how to brush your cat’s teeth. It’s also important to mention that it may take time for a cat to get used to having their teeth brushed, so patience and consistency are key. 

How often should you clean your cat’s teeth? 

The American Veterinary Dental College recommends that pet owners should brush their cat’s teeth at least three times a week to keep their teeth and gums healthy. However, the frequency of teeth cleaning may vary depending on your cat’s individual needs. For instance, if your cat has a history of dental problems, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent cleanings. 

Professional cat teeth cleaning 

Just like we should visit the dentist regularly in addition to brushing our teeth at home, your cat should also have professional dental cleanings. During the cleaning, the vet will examine your cat’s teeth and gums for any signs of decay, gingivitis, or other dental problems. They will also remove any tartar buildup, polish the teeth, and apply a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the enamel.  

Cat teeth extractions 

Cat teeth extractions can be a daunting and emotional experience for owners and their pets. However, extractions are often necessary to improve your cat’s overall health and well-being and are relatively common, especially in older cats. There are several reasons why a cat may need a tooth extraction, including: 

  • Periodontal disease is the most common reason for cat teeth extractions. If not addressed, periodontal disease can lead to inflammation, infection, discomfort, and tooth loss. 
  • Broken or fractured teeth can be caused by trauma or chewing on hard objects. Damaged teeth are extremely uncomfortable for cats and can become infected. 
  • Feline stomatitis is a severe inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums, often caused by an immune system overreaction. Tooth extraction may be necessary to alleviate symptoms. 

During a tooth extraction procedure, the veterinarian will remove the affected teeth while your cat is under general anesthesia. After the extractions, your cat may experience some discomfort and swelling, which can be managed with proper post-operative care. It is important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions carefully to ensure a timely and successful recovery. Although losing teeth may seem concerning, cats are often happier and healthier after having dental issues addressed with proper dental care and regular check-ups. 

How can ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA help stressed cats?  

Teeth cleaning is not usually a comfortable experience for pets. Many different aspects of the process, particularly early on, can cause cats stress. This stress may be even worse during professional cleaning for cats who do not like to visit the veterinarian. ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA feline oil and paste provide support for cats who experience stress in situations like teeth cleaning and vet visits. By calming without sedating, CBD + CBDA helps cats relax, safely handle stressful situations, reduce their stress response over time.    

Bottom line  

Dental health is an essential component of your cat’s overall health and wellbeing, as dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. To maintain good dental health, it’s important to brush a cat’s teeth regularly, feed them a healthy diet, consider providing them with dental chews and toys, and schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian. Pet parents should make a routine of cleaning their cat’s teeth and monitor for early signs of periodontal disease.