Cat teeth aren’t anything you need to worry about, right? Or even think about? Sadly not. Just like human teeth, cat teeth go hand in hand with plaque.
Which is why dental care for cats is (almost) as important as dental care for humans.
If the thought of getting up close and personal with your cat’s mouth terrifies you, never fear. We’re here with our best tips for keeping those pearly whites…well… white.
How to look after cat teeth
Ok, so it’s clear that in order for teeth to stay in good condition, they need to be cleaned.
In between vet checks (you’ll be happy to hear our Deluxe cat insurance includes dental cover) you can take a few DIY steps to keep your cat’s teeth in good condition:
- Choose the right food. Speak to your vet about a diet suitable for your cat’s breed, age, health, and other nutrition needs. The right food can contribute to better dental health.
- Brush your cat’s teeth. Like with humans, routine brushing is key to dental health. It helps maintain healthy teeth and gums and stops plaque from building up.
- Use treats and additives. Cat dental treats can help to keep their gnashers healthy and strong.
- Add a rinse to their water. This is almost like mouthwash for humans, but without the minty taste.
And remember, you can also book your cat in for annual professional teeth cleaning. It’s done by a vet under general anaesthetic and can make a huge difference to your cat’s teeth.
But if you’re still stuck on point two – brushing your cat’s teeth – then we understand. Cats and toothbrushes don’t seem like a natural fit but it’s the most cost effective combo.
Here’s how to get it right.
How to brush your cat’s teeth
As with most things related to cats, you’ll need to tread carefully. Don’t expect to be doing a full brush, floss, and rinse on the first day.
Here’s a step by step guide to cleaning those cat teeth like a pro:
- Choose a time when your cat is calm (like after digging out the catnip)
- Put a bit of pet toothpaste on your hand and give your cat the chance to smell it. They might lick it if they’re curious enough
- Next, put the toothpaste on a cat toothbrush and let kitty investigate (here’s a kit with toothpaste and brush)
- Pull back your cat’s lip and gently rest the toothbrush (with toothpaste) on her teeth.
- Once she’s calm, try brushing her teeth gently
- Give lots of love and praise after you’re done!
Remember, you don’t have to do all the steps in the first day. Or even the first week. Take it at a pace that your cat is comfortable with and make brushing their teeth a positive experience. If it takes you a month to build up to being able to brush two teeth, so be it.
Dental disease in cats
Since cats became domesticated they have sometimes needed a bit of extra TLC when it comes to their teeth.
Cat teeth are a natural breeding ground for bacteria, like all teeth. However, cats are prone to decay and wear and tear in teeth, especially those who eat a processed diet.
Some common dental problems in cats include:
- Gum diseases (e.g. gingivitis and periodontitis)
- Tooth resorption
- Tooth fracture
- Wear and tear
If you catch these conditions early and get proper treatment, many of them are fixable. Your vet might prescribe medication, or your cat might need a surgical procedure to get them healthy again.
Signs of poor dental hygiene in cat teeth
So now you know that poor dental hygiene can cause a host of health issues in cats, how can you prevent it? Though cats are good at hiding pain, here are some signs to keep an eye out for:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Lack of appetite or weight loss (as eating can be painful)
- Pawing at their mouth or face
If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to be checked out by a vet.
Cat insurance plans with dental cover
If some of the above conditions sound expensive, you wouldn’t be wrong. But don’t worry, because cat insurance can help to ease the financial load. As we mentioned earlier, our Deluxe plan includes dental cover. That means your cat has covered for dental diseases, extractions, and more.