Cat Teeth Cleaning: How to Clean Your Cat’s Teeth

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Advice for Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean

Cats tend to mask symptoms of pain and discomfort. That’s why it’s so important for kitty owners to be aware of their cat’s oral health and implement a daily brushing routine to keep their teeth clean. 

Take Your Cat for Annual Dental Checkups 

Cats should have a dental checkup and teeth cleaning as part of their annual wellness exam. During the appointment, your vet will assess your cat’s oral health along with their overall physical health and recommend professional veterinary dental cleaning or surgery, if required. 

Implement a Daily Dental Care Routine 

It’s a cat owner’s responsibility to keep their four-legged friend’s teeth as clean and healthy as possible. To that end, our vets recommend implementing a daily oral health and dental care routine to prevent plaque and tartar from building up between cleanings, and getting your kitty used to having their teeth brushed. 

As you might imagine, easing your cat into this routine may take a bit of trial and error, so you’ll want to wait until she’s calm and relaxed before trying these steps:

  1. Gently lift the lips and use your finger to massage your cat’s teeth and gums for a few seconds. 
  2. Keep your expectations simple when you start – you may only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this. Stop before she becomes too annoyed. 
  3. Shower your kitty with lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. Your goal here is to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on this task. 
  4. Once your cat has become used to having their teeth and gums regularly, you can gradually introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for cats (never use your own toothpaste, as it contains ingredients that are toxic to our feline companions). Look for flavors that appeal to them, such as chicken or beef. 
  5. Start with the brushing 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 (you may even have the opportunity to test a few different flavors). Find a brush that has soft bristles made for cats’ delicate gums.

While some cat owners find success with a small piece of soft gauze, others find a finger brush works for their felines. Still others apply dental gel with the toothbrush or a finger, and have the gel do the work for them.

Whether you use teeth brushing, special treats or food, chew toys or drinking water additives, there are several products out there that can help with keeping your cat’s teeth clean. Of course, they’ll also need a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified veterinarian to keep their teeth in tip-top condition.

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