Many cat owners dare not to touch their cat’s mouth, let alone look at their teeth. Just like a dog, however, your cat requires a good regiment of dental care. Focusing on the quality of your feline friend’s oral health is a positive step toward keeping them healthy, preventing painful periodontal disease, and potential other secondary infections.
Bayshore Animal Hospital & Avian Practice is here with some expert tips on dental care for cats that you can sink your teeth into. Let’s take a closer look!
An Overview Of Oral Health In Cats
Cats are prone to many of the same dental diseases and problems as most mammals. Without good dental hygiene, cats are likely to have missing or damaged teeth, inflammation of the gums, abscesses, and infections. Here are a few important facts about dental care every pet owner should be aware of:
- Plaque—Plaque is a buildup of bacteria on the surface of the tooth. Over time, plaque accumulates and forms into a hard, brown substance called tartar. Food and bacteria on the surface of the teeth contribute to the development of long-term dental disease.
- Tarter—Tartar, that hard substance that covers the teeth, will combine with plaque and bacteria. This causes an array of problems that range from redness and swollen gums to cavities or tooth decay.
- Periodontal disease—This disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar. It affects not only the teeth, but also the gums and the structures that support the mouth like the bones of the jaw.
Did you know that up to 85% of cats over the age of three have some form of periodontal disease? This is why it is so important to take care of your furry friend’s pearly whites.
How To Provide Excellent Dental Care For Cats
To prevent periodontal disease and other health conditions related to poor dental care, we recommend regular tooth brushing. Brushing your cat’s teeth is your number one defense against dental disease, especially when you start in kitten or adolescent years.
You must also keep your cat’s yearly wellness examinations, where we do a thorough assessment of dental health. We might need to perform dental cleanings under anesthesia and other procedures to remove tartar and plaque.
Steps To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
- Apply a small amount of toothpaste (designed for cats) on a small, angled toothbrush, which is available at pet supply stores.
- Place your cat’s head at a 45 degree angle and lift the lip to brush the front teeth.
- If your cat is uneasy, begin by using a cotton swab dipped in tuna water and rub this on the front incisors to get them used to the feeling.
- Keep sessions short, at first, focusing only on the incisors and front-side teeth.
- As your cat gets used to it, move to the inside and back teeth.
- Clean the tooth brush and give your cat a treat and fresh water.
We would love to help you with learning how to effectively (and safely) brush your cat’s teeth. For more information on dental care for cats or to schedule an appointment, please call (727) 381‑3900 or visit us online.