Bad breath is just one of the signs that your cat may be developing dental disease. Learn dental care tips on how to clean your cat’s teeth to ensure your cat’s teeth stay in the best condition.
Signs of dental problems in cats
Look out for the following signs of dental problems in your cat which indicate the need for a dental checkup at your local Vets.
- Bad breath
- Yellowish-brown tartar on teeth
- Licking up food as opposed to chewing it
- Using front paws to rub at their mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Bleeding gums
- Gradual to a sudden decrease in appetite
- Dropping food when eating
- Favoring one side of the mouth over the other when eating
How to clean your cat’s teeth
Brush your cat’s teeth daily
Brushing your cat’s teeth every day is a great way to ensure their dental health. It’s important that you begin brushing your cat’s teeth from when they’re a kitten so they are used to being touched around and inside their mouth. Using a beef or chicken flavored toothpaste can make this process more agreeable for your cat. A great cat dental care tip is to let them taste the toothpaste first, and then squeeze some on a small finger brush to rub their teeth. You can then gradually build up to using a pet toothbrush if appropriate.
Don’t neglect their gums
Gingivitis is when the color of the gums becomes red and appears angry. Your cat’s gums should look pink and healthy, not irritated and sore. An important part of providing your cat with the best dental care is to massage their gums to stimulate good oral health. Paying attention to your cat’s gums now will help prevent plaque, and hence tartar, down the track.
Feed your cat dry food
It’s important to feed your cat good quality dry food as this promotes mechanical cleaning and helps protect their teeth from plaque and hence tartar. You must also ensure your cat chews this food as they need the contact time between the teeth and dry food for good oral care and when they chew fast, this cannot occur. If your cat chews their food too fast, talk with your local Vets for ways to slow them down.
Further, if your cat eats mostly wet food then there’s no physical abrasion when they chew. Over time, a diet of wet foods alone can lead to gingivitis and even loose teeth. In addition, there is a range of cat dental care products including dental sprays and water additives that can be added to your cat’s food or water bowls that may assist in cleaning your cat’s teeth, and encourage oral hygiene.
Provide them with dental treats
Not only are treats a delicious reward for your pet, they can also be used to clean your cat’s teeth. Dental treats are formulated with a texture that helps to scrub your cat’s teeth as they chew, preventing plaque and tartar from building up. Further, the ingredients contain essential vitamins and minerals that benefit your cat’s health and promote fresh breath. While dental treats should not solely be relied on for dental hygiene, they are a useful addition to your cat’s home dental care program.
Regularly visit the vet
Vets are professionals when checking the mouth, teeth and gums of pet cats. “We talk to the owners and share advice on how to manage their cat’s teeth at home, or how to clean their teeth or change their diet. If it’s something that might need a dental scale and polish or tooth extraction then we would provide an estimate for the surgery and any specific recommendations for that cat and go from there,” says Dr. Tessa Jongejans.
Following a regular dental care routine will ensure that your cat’s teeth and gums stay healthy. Book a dental care checkup with your local Vets and learn how to clean your cat’s teeth and protect their oral health.