Keeping your cat’s teeth and gums in good condition throughout its life helps to ensure that it suffers less from loss of teeth in old age, which will make life uncomfortable. Cat Dental and Gum Care and knowing How To Brush A Cat’s Teeth is key to cat health. It is important to train your cat to accept having its teeth cleaned from an early age. Otherwise, this experience is likely to prove stressful for your pet and hazardous for you, as even a normally placid cat may attempt to bite and scratch if it has not been accustomed to having its teeth brushed.
Even if you do not regularly brush your cat’s teeth, it is a good idea to check its teeth regularly. Grip your cat firmly around the face and use your thumbs to push back the lips and expose the teeth.
At what age is my kitten likely to develop her permanent teeth?
Always invest in one of the special kits intended for cleaning cats’ teeth, rather than using human dental products. It is not just a matter of the design of the toothbrush — the type of toothpaste used is important as well. Human toothpaste will fizz in the mouth, which will upset the cat, and may even be harmful if swallowed. Toothpaste formulated for cats contains enzymes which help to break down deposits on the teeth, reducing the likelihood of tartar accumulating on them.
WHAT TO DO
Don’t start brushing a kitten’s teeth with a toothbrush, as this could prove to be painful. You need to teach your pet to feel relaxed about this process, so the aim has to be to encourage it to open its mouth readily. If you are righthanded, use your left hand to hold the cat’s jaws and gently prise them apart, so that you can brush them with a finger toothbrush placed on the index finger of your other hand. If you do this two or three times a week, rubbing both sides of the jaws, your cat will soon come to accept this as part of the normal grooming practice. You can then introduce the larger toothbrush in due course.
The ‘baby’ teeth will be shed at around the age of five months, when your kitten will try to relieve the irritation of teething by chewing more than normal. By this stage, she should be used to having her teeth cleaned. Don’t exert any undue pressure to remove the milk teeth as this may make them bleed. Serious brushing need only commence once the permanent teeth are fully in place.
Can chews help keep my cat’s teeth clean?
Playthings of this type can be helpful, but cats are less enthusiastic than dogs about gnawing on a chew. Even so, it is worth offering one to your pet, to see if it will play with it. Those with a meat-based flavour are generally recommended for cats, as other types of chews are likely to be ignored.
- Cats fed on dry food are less likely to suffer from dental problems than those given canned food, because this does not accumulate between the teeth and at the gum line.
- Although bad breath (halitosis) is often indicative of a build-up of tartar, it can indicate other health problems, such as kidney failure.
- Herbal toothpastes for cats frequently contain sage oil, which is reputed to whiten the teeth as well as clean them.