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5 Cat Dental Care Tips & Why Teeth Cleaning Matters

Do you know how many teeth cats have? 30—making every single tooth important to them maintaining a healthy and happy life. While kittens come into this world without teeth, they start to get them once they’re about 2 weeks old. As their pet parent, it’s your job to look out for their pearly whites by starting regular cat teeth cleaning as early as possible.

If you neglect your feline’s teeth, they’re at risk for plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or a more serious health problem. To make sure this doesn’t happen to your companion, we’re equipping you with 5 cat dental care tips to keep your pet's teeth healthy and strong.

1. Schedule regular visits to your pet's veterinarian

Take your cat to a veterinarian for their annual exam which includes a dental check-up. If you notice foul-smelling breath, excessive drooling, or anything out of the ordinary, make sure to bring it up.

2. Start and stick to a daily cleaning ritual

Routine cat teeth cleaning is best to start when your kitten is young. If you start when they’re older, you’ll face some resistance but oral hygiene is still possible. The first step to learn how to brush cat teeth is to get your feline accustomed to dental care products. Place a small amount of cat toothpaste (never human toothpaste) on your finger, and let your pet lick it off.

Work your way up to wrapping your finger with gauze and massaging their teeth and gums. You can also use cat dental wipes or a pet toothbrush, but again, never a human toothbrush. Start at a slow pace, cleaning a single tooth or two at first. Then, increase how long and the number of teeth you clean.

3. Feed your cat a well-balanced and healthy diet

Many brands offer oral care formulas to assist with cat dental care. There are special kibble designs that wipe away tartar build-up as well as formulas that use interlocking fiber technology to help with cat teeth cleaning. If you choose to only feed your cat wet food, place extra focus on their oral hygiene to clean out leftover food debris. This is key in reducing bacteria and plaque which are the main agents of tooth decay.

4. Offer your pet cat dental treats

Switch up your daily brushing ritual with a few Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)-approved cat dental treats. While they won't replace daily tooth brushing, they can help keep your cat's teeth clean and limit oral health issues. Treats come in a variety of flavors including chicken, salmon, tuna, beef, and more for all types of eaters.

5. Experiment with chew toys and dental chews

Believe it or not, chew toys are not just for dogs! You can select a VOHC-approved chew toy designed for cats. Not only does it help satisfy your cat's desire to chew, the toys or dental chews can help curb plaque buildup as well.

Felines are experts at concealing their pain making it important to have a cat dental care plan in place. If you notice bad breath, red gums, chewing on one side of the mouth, a decreased appetite, drooling, or grooming less often, it’s time to consult their veterinarian. With professional care, you can get to the root of the problem and come up with a special diet that supports healthy oral hygiene.