Is it Necessary to Clean your Cat’s Teeth?

cat holding a toothbrush

There are many different aspects of cat care to consider when you choose to adopt a feline family member. Feeding her the right food and ensuring that she gets the right medical treatment are obvious and critical parts to keeping her safe and healthy. However, something that many owners overlook, unless they are very experienced pet parents, is the importance of dental care.

Your cat needs her teeth!

Cats rely heavily on their teeth, primarily for eating, but also for catching and killing her prey. Even if she is an indoor kitty, your furbaby is naturally designed to be a predator and it is as much as instinct to keep her teeth sharp as it is her claws. Most cats have around 30 teeth, and they would like to keep it that way!

The importance of dental health in felines

Dental health is important for any mammal with teeth. Just like humans, felines can experience a number of different dental problems during their lifetime, from decay and periodontal disease to damage sustained through trauma such as a fall. Periodontal disease in particular is an ongoing concern for cats, with eight in every ten cats showing symptoms of the condition by the time they turn three.

Feline periodontal disease

Feline periodontal disease is virtually identical to the human version of the condition, and the effects are just as debilitating. Minor irritation and soreness can lead to widespread infection, significant pain and even tooth loss. Oral infections that start as a result of periodontal disease can quickly spread through her body and start to affect her major organs, causing irreversible damage. For this reason, doing everything in your power to prevent periodontal disease should be a significant priority. If your cat does develop the condition, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the symptoms from worsening.

Symptoms of periodontal disease

- Red, swollen gums

- Bleeding gums

- Swelling of the face

- Persistent bad breath

- Loss of appetite

- Difficulty eating

- Teeth that are very yellow or brown, particularly near the gums

- Teeth that look broken or are damaged

How you can help look after your pet’s teeth

If the title of this blog isn’t enough of a clue…. Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most important thing that you can do to keep dental problems at bay! Most of us incorporate daily brushing of our own teeth into our routine so well that we don’t give it a second thought. However, this is a habit that it would be very useful to develop for our cats too. Brushing her teeth will help remove any bacteria that has accumulated during the day before it can turn into the destructive plaque that causes decay and periodontal disease.

How often should I brush her teeth?

Brushing her teeth daily is optimal, but even just two or three times a week is better than not at all as every time you brush, you will be contributing towards her having healthier, bacteria-free teeth. It may sound like an impossible task, but with practice and patience, most cats learn to tolerate or even enjoy the sensation of having their teeth brushed. The key is to find a feline toothpaste that your furbaby enjoys the taste of, and to turn the experience into a positive, bonding opportunity for you and your cat.

Visit our veterinarian

Our vet will have had specialist education and training to be able to undertake a comprehensive examination of your pet’s teeth to ensure that they are healthy. Regular visits at least once a year will give our vet the opportunity to spot any potential problems and start treating them early, before any lasting damage can occur.

The best way to learn to brush your cat’s teeth is to ask our veterinarian for a demonstration. Contact our veterinary offices today to get more information and help your kitty start enjoying better dental health today.