We, humans, know how important dental care is. It is advised that we brush our teeth two times a day to keep them healthy. And this piece of health advice is not just for humans. Veterinarians all around emphasize that your pet cat’s dental health matters as well. Here’s How to take care of your Cat’s Teeth.
Do I need to clean my Cat’s teeth?
Compared to other pets, a cat’s teeth are more sensitive to dental ailments. Cats love to put their mouth on everything, whether it be plants or their toys. So it becomes doubly important that you take care of their teeth to avoid any trips to the veterinarian.
When cats live in the wild, they can clean up their teeth on their own by chewing bone or grass. Obviously, this option is not available to your pet cat who lives in a domestic setting.
You need to actively check your cat’s teeth to make sure they are healthy. You should especially look out for plaque build-up and little bits of leftover food in their teeth. If they are left alone and not cleaned up, your cat can develop dental problems in the future.
What can go wrong?
A lot can go wrong if you don’t pay attention to your cat’s teeth. A cat’s teeth are strong, capable of tearing through flesh and crack bones. But since they are generally meat eaters it also makes them sensitive.
And this is just scratching the surface. Just like humans can suffer cavities and rotten teeth, a cat can have those same consequences if its owner doesn’t keep up with its dental health.
- Plaque buildup is common in cats if their teeth are not brushed regularly. This plaque can harden in the future and become tartar which can hurt their gums and can lead to gingivitis or even a loss of the tooth.
- Any dental pain or inflammation will make it difficult for your cat to drink or eat food.
- The mouth is one of the easiest entryways for bacteria. If you don’t keep your cat’s mouth clean, bacteria can enter your cat’s bloodstream and cause serious diseases.
- The biggest consequence of long-term dental neglect is the eventual damage to the cat’s gums which hold the teeth in place. This condition is called ‘periodontal disease’ and it can cause your cat’s teeth to fall off.
How to Check Cat’s Teeth and Gums
Now that you know some common teeth problems in cats, let’s talk about how to keep a check to prevent them from ever happening. Prevention is better than cure and just by following a few simple preventive measures you can save your cat from a lot of difficulties and your wallet from expensive medical bills.
- Open your Cat’s Mouth: To check your cat’s teeth you first of all need to get their mouth open. Cats are not the biggest fans of getting their teeth checked so you need to be very gentle with them. Getting your cat to a relaxed state will make it easier for you and also less stressful for the cat. Alternatively, you can also regularly take your cat to a veterinarian and have them do a dental check-up.
- Just like your teeth, a cat’s teeth should be: white, Should have no splintering of teeth, and of course, should be free of debris like food stuck between the teeth.
- Check for the gums: as they are an important part of oral healthcare. Make sure your cat’s gums have NO swelling and sores, are healthy pink in color, are not red nor bleeding.
- Do a Thorough Check: If you want to do a really thorough checking of your cat, then make sure to take a look at the back of the mouth as well. Look out for any: ulcers, strange bumps, rashes, any swellings.
- Remove Strange Objects: If you find any new object in your cat’s mouth, like a piece of cloth, then immediately remove it. If you are not able to remove it then take your cat to a veterinarian to have it safely removed.
- Keep a check on your cat’s oral breath: If it smells persistently foul them that can be a sign of damaged gums. Immediately take your cat to a veterinarian in such a case.
- Be observant of your cat’s daily behavior as well: If your cat is having difficulty in drinking and eating food, it can be because your cat is in pain due to some problem with its teeth. Other signs of behavior that warrant veterinarian attention include: (1) drooling; (2) cat pawing at their mouth repeatedly; (3) your cat being louder than usual or; (4) cat being quieter than normal.
Keeping your Cat’s Teeth Clean
Owning a pet cat comes with responsibilities. One of these responsibilities includes taking care of their teeth. Just a few daily things to keep in mind and your pet cat will never need to visit a veterinarian for teeth problems! All it requires is practice and patience and soon you will soon become habitual in taking care of your cat’s teeth.
- Brush your cat’s teeth daily. There is no if and but about this daily to-do activity with your cat. Daily brushing will keep cavities away. Make sure you develop this habit not just in yourself but in your cat as well. They will be resistant at first but gradually they will ease into this daily ritual.
If you have a kitten then it’s the perfect time to get them used to have their teeth cleaned. Getting them accustomed to having fingers in their mouth will make it easier to brush their teeth when they are full-grown adult cats.
Have the Right Equipment
Cat’s teeth are different from human teeth. So using your toothbrush or toothpaste will not be appropriate for them. Thankfully cat-specific products are easily available so that you can take care of your cat’s teeth the best way you can.
- The best place to buy the right equipment is at a veterinarian. They usually have a full dental kit available for cats which you can use daily.
- Under no circumstances human toothpaste should be used for cats. Human toothpaste has a high level of fluoride which can make your cat very ill if swallowed. Fluoride-free toothpaste for cats is readily available for cats so make sure to use them instead. They even come flavored in things your cat likes like chicken or tuna.
- For brushing your cat’s teeth you can use : (1) disinfected gauze strips; (2) finger brush ; (3) toothpaste made of rubber.
- Never ever use dental floss. It can be easily ingested and make your cat ill.
- For kittens, you can use a finger glove and cover it with toothpaste for cats. Rub the glove and toothpaste-covered finger along their teeth to clean them.
Keeping Cat’s Mouth Healthy
Your cat’s oral healthcare is just not about its teeth. Every part of their mouth needs to be clean to maintain all-around oral health.
- As teeth are connected to the cat’s gums, any damage to the teeth starts from bad gums. After brushing a cat’s teeth, take your time to take care of their gums as well. Massaging their gums will keep them strong and healthy.
- Feed your cat a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients like Vitamin E and selenium. Talk to your veterinarian to come up with the perfect diet chart for your cat.
- Take your cat to regular veterinarian check-ups. Even if your cat’s teeth may appear white from outside, it’s possible the decay lies underneath. Only a veterinarian would be able to detect and treat it.
New cat owners might get a little scared at the prospect of taking care of their cat’s teeth, but it can also become a bonding daily ritual between you and your cat. Not to mention it will keep your pet cat happy and save you many trips to the veterinarian. So just like you don’t forget to brush your teeth, don’t forget your pet cat’s brushing time as well!