Do you brush your cat’s teeth? Do you find it impossible to do it? It’s true that brushing a cat’s teeth at home can be tricky, but good dental care is crucial to long-term good health.
Why is dental care for cats important?
Poor oral health can negatively affect a cat’s quality of life, because it can cause:
- Loose and missing teeth
- Broken and sore teeth
- Gingivitis and periodontitis
- Heart and kidney dysfunction
Plaque, a film that contains bacteria, forms on the teeth daily, and is placed under the gum line as well. Plaque turns into tartar over time, and bacteria multiply and wreak havoc not only in your cat’s mouth, but the rest of the body as well.
What kind of dental care do cats need?
Tooth brushing is one of the main ways to remove dental plaque before it turns into tartar and to keep the bacterial load in the mouth under control.
Additionally, cats need routine professional cleanings by a veterinarian . These cleanings are performed under anesthesia with an ultrasonic instrument, to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, even below the gum line.
How to brush a cat’s teeth
If you have a small kitten, this is the perfect time to start brushing his teeth and get him used to doing it routinely. If you have an older cat who is not used to having their mouth touched, it can be a bit more difficult, but you can still get used to it.
Steps to follow to brush a cat’s teeth:
– If you can find a helper, brushing your cat’s teeth will be a little easier . The helper can stabilize the cat for you and prevent it from running away.
– Prepare supplies before you start: You will need a small, soft toothbrush or a finger brush . If you are not sure how your cat will react or if you know that he does not like to be touched his mouth, using a toothbrush is safer because your fingers will not be as close to the teeth (as with a finger brush).
– If you have never brushed your cat’s teeth before, it is sometimes helpful to put a small dollop of toothpaste on the brush and offer it to your cat to smell and lick on . It won’t hurt to swallow it, and if you find that you like the taste, it will probably be easier to start brushing your teeth.
– The easiest thing to do is to stand next to your cat and lift her upper lip with your non-dominant hand, then gently rub the paste with the toothbrush in your dominant hand.
– Always speak calmly and calmly when brushing your cat’s teeth . Praise him when he’s calm and let you continue. If you can only do a few teeth at first, that’s fine, just get them done and try again the next day.
– Smear the toothpaste on all external surfaces of the cat’s teeth on the side where you are. If your cat is extremely obedient, you can open his mouth and put toothpaste on the internal surfaces, too.
– Move to the other side of your cat’s mouth and repeat the process there.
If you can brush your cat’s teeth on a daily basis that would be ideal, but even if you do it every three days or so, the enzymatic toothpaste will be able to work on the teeth between brushing periods.
Additional dental care for cats
There are some novel treats that have been formulated to break mechanically so that the teeth can be cleaned while the cat chews on them.
These treats can be helpful in addition to brushing, or if you can’t brush your cat, they are at least one way to remove plaque from your cat’s teeth. Consult with your vet about these treats for cats.
Make sure to plan routine vet visits and ask about caring for your cat’s teeth. Find out when your vet thinks your cat needs a professional dental cleaning.
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