Providing good dental care for cats is essential to give them strong, healthy teeth that’ll last them for a lifetime! Poor dental care can lead to a variety of health problems, such as dental disease and tooth loss.
The Importance Of Good Dental Care For Cats
Just like us, cats also require good dental hygiene. Due to the unique design of their teeth, it is easier for food to become stuck between their teeth and gum line. Over time, this accumulation of food particles, bacteria and saliva leads to plaque and tartar buildup, which can then lead to dental issues such as gingivitis and dental disease.
Gingivitis, or gum disease, in particular, can lead to sore, swollen gums. If left unresolved, it can further develop into periodontal disease, and even possibly tooth resorption, a painful condition that causes tooth loss.
Unfortunately, gum disease is extremely common in cats and often goes undiagnosed. We are all familiar that cats are experts at hiding their pain or discomfort. Hence, many might not be aware that their cats are having any issues with their teeth or gums.
Symptoms Of Dental Disease In Cats
Checking your cat’s teeth and gums regularly can help to prevent the onset of dental disease. Your cat’s teeth should be clean and white, with gums that are pink and healthy (no swelling, redness or bleeding).
Early diagnosis of gingivitis can prevent it from developing into periodontitis, and can still be reversed with proper dental care.
Here are some of the more serious signs and symptoms of feline dental disease:
- Yellow (tartar) buildup on teeth or gums
- Lesions in or around mouth
- Loose, chipped or broken teeth
- Receding gum line
- Bad breath
- Bloody nasal discharge
- Bloody saliva
- Repeatedly pawing at mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Decrease in grooming routine
- Sudden weight loss
Dental Care For Cats
Regular Veterinary Check Ups
Even if their teeth appear white, your cat might still not be safe from periodontal disease! Dental disease can slowly develop under the gum line, and can be hard to identify at home. Hence, getting your cat’s teeth checked regularly by a professional might just be the best defense against dental disease. Dental cleaning is also recommended to keep your cat’s teeth clean and polished.
Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Brushing your cat’s teeth everyday is key to keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. However, this might be a challenge, especially if your cat’s not used to you touching their face or mouth much.
Starting out with something that doesn’t require brushing like the Petsmile Professional Toothpaste can be very helpful in such situations. First, get into position by cradling your cat and tilting their head back. Next, try to gently apply the paste with a finger or swab across all your cat’s teeth. It might take more than a few tries for your cat to get more familiar with the routine, so be patient!
Once your cat is used to have their teeth cleaned with your finger, we recommend using a toothbrush which can not only help massage the gums, but also remove any food debris more effectively.
However, make sure to never brush your cat’s teeth with human toothpaste — the high amounts of fluoride in our toothpaste can be toxic to cats, leaving them very ill.
Alternative Dental Care Products For Cats
To further supplement regular brushing and professional dental care, there are also other dental care products you can get for your cat! These are especially helpful if you have a cat that’s more susceptible to dental problems (e.g. senior cats), or have a hard time brushing all of your cat’s teeth.
We recommend looking for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance. This means that the products have been clinically tested to reduce plaque and tartar.
Simple and convenient, the ProDen PlaqueOff Dental Care Powder can be easily added into your cat’s dry or wet food, while the Dentalife Savory Salmon Dental Cat Treats can be fed daily to help keep teeth clean!
If you’d like to know more about caring for your cat, you can also read “Is Your Cat Drinking Enough Water? Guide To Preventing Cat Dehydration” and “Cat Nail Biting, Chewing & Pulling — Should You Be Concerned?“.