How to prevent the formation of tartar in cats?

How To Prevent The Formation Of Tartar In Cats?

Like us humans, cats can get tartar. This accumulation of dental plaque is not without consequence. It can be the cause of bad breath but also of many oral pathologies. It is possible to limit or even avoid the accumulation of tartar in cats. Here is everything you need to know about the formation of tartar in cats but also about the solutions available to you to reduce dental plaque.

Focus On The Cat’S Teeth

Before talking about tartar and the oral pathologies that are most common in cats, we must look at their teeth. As you know, the cat is a feline. What you may not know is that the cat is one of the felines with the fewest teeth.

The Composition Of The Cat’S Teeth

A kitten has 26 milk teeth, namely:

  • 12 incisors that grow around 2 to 3 weeks,
  • 4 canines that grow around 3 to 4 weeks,
  • 10 premolars (6 top and 4 bottom) growing in at 4 to 6 weeks.

Kittens do not have molars. All of their baby teeth take about 2 months to appear. They will begin to fall off when the kitten reaches 3 to 4 months of age.

An adult cat has 30 teeth, namely:

  • 12 incisors,
  • 4 canines,
  • 10 premolars (6 above and 4 below),
  • 4 molars.

For comparison, a dog has 42 teeth and an adult human has 32.

The Usefulness Of Each Type Of Teeth In Cats

  • Incisors of the cat are small teeth that are square. Thanks to them, the cat can catch. These little teeth also act as combs when the cat grooms itself.
  • The canines of the cat are long and pointed. Those also called fangs are very useful teeth that allow the cat to kill prey and detail food.
  • The premolars are the largest teeth. They are also called carnivores. Thanks to them, the cat can cut its food. These teeth are naturally very sharp. Only herbivorous animals have flat teeth.
  • molars appear only with permanent teeth. Those that are also called tubercular teeth are located at the back of the animal’s mouth. They are very little used.
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How Does Tartar Form In Cats?

To prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth of a cat, it is necessary to understand the origin of the phenomenon. Dental plaque is made up of a mixture of food residue, saliva and bacteria. Over time, if you don’t get rid of it, it mineralizes to become tartar. We men brush our teeth daily to get rid of this plaque. But in cats, tooth brushing is more rare or even non-existent. Dental plaque builds up and calcifies. To eliminate it, it is necessary to call the veterinarian.

Why Is Dental Plaque A Danger?

If the dental plaque must be avoided, it is because its accumulation can be the origin of oral pathologies. Know that 2 out of 3 cats over 2 years old suffer from oral disorders.


Periodontosis is an inflammation of the part of the gum that surrounds the tooth. It is caused by the presence of food in the gum cavity. If left untreated, it becomes gingivitis.


Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It can start from an accumulation of tartar. Symptoms of gingivitis are swelling of the gums. These are also red, purulent and above all painful, although your cat will have a hard time telling you that. It is not uncommon for bleeding to occur at the root of the teeth. A cat with gingivitis eats less. In addition to losing its appetite, the animal may lose weight.


When gingivitis is not treated, it worsens to become periodontitis. This leads to a detachment of the gums and a retraction of the bony parts. The dental roots are bare which is very unpleasant for the cat.

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Halitosis, or bad breath, should also concern you. Of course, it can be caused by an accumulation of dental plaque. But not only. Sometimes halitosis indicates that your cat has a more serious condition. It can be diabetes, digestive disorders, kidney or liver failure or even a respiratory infection. In any case, if you find that your cat’s breath is unpleasant, you should talk to your veterinarian.


Cavities are less common in cats than in humans, but they are always serious. In our felines, a cavity is almost always infected. It therefore requires a consultation with the veterinarian. A cavity that becomes infected can have serious consequences on the health of cats. Plaque can hide cavities. The bacteria that make it up can also increase the risk of infection.

How To Avoid The Formation Of Dental Plaque In Cats?

Tooth Brushing

To avoid the formation of dental plaque and therefore tartar in cats, several solutions exist. The most effective is brushing your teeth. To proceed, you must have the right equipment, namely a small toothbrush, a finger cot with pins and toothpaste for cats. Of course, it is forbidden to use a toothbrush and traditional toothpaste. To get your cat to let it go, you have to get into the habit of brushing its teeth from an early age. Plan 2 to 3 brushings each week.

Anti-Plaque Solutions For Cats

To reduce the formation of tartar, it is also possible to give your cat chewable toothpaste, dental sticks or oral solutions that act directly on the plaque. All these products are available in pet stores, pharmacies, drugstores and veterinarians.

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The Change Of Diet

The diet of cats directly impacts the formation of tartar. If you are used to giving wet food to your companion, namely mousses, minced meat or pâtés, the accumulation of dental plaque is more important. If you adopt a dry diet, namely kibble, you improve the oral health of the animal. Indeed, kibbles have an abrasive effect on the teeth. Know that to enjoy both types of food, you can bet on bi-nutrition. It is also possible to opt for croquettes which reduce the formation of dental plaque. These formulas are available everywhere!

When Should You Opt For Descaling?

Sometimes, when there is too much tartar, it is advisable to carry out a descaling. This treatment is carried out by the veterinarian in his office. It requires general anesthesia. The process is the same as at the dentist. During anesthesia, the veterinarian may extract the most damaged teeth. To slow down the formation of dental plaque, the teeth are polished. If your cat suffers from an oral infection, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotic treatment or even anti-inflammatories.

The oral health of cats is essential. Even if too few masters brush their companion’s teeth, you should get into this habit as soon as possible. Reassure your cat, reward it and above all show regularity.

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