How to Look After Your Cat’s Teeth

Updated: 5/7/20242-4 minutes
A kitten rolls on the floor playfully biting a spring toy

Did you know that eight out of ten cats over the age of three have tooth and gum problems? Just like our own teeth, your cat’s teeth accumulate plaque, and if this isn’t kept under control, it can lead to tartar and even periodontal disease. You know how important it is to look after your own teeth, so make sure you give that same care and attention to your furry friend’s cat dental care. 

Warning Signs of Cat Teeth Problems

As cats are already grooming experts, it’s easy to miss thinking about cleaning your cat’s teeth. Cats accumulate plaque on their teeth just like we do. If left unattended, this hardens to form tartar, which irritates the gums causing gingivitis and can ultimately lead to tooth loss. If your cat has severe dental disease and it’s not dealt with, the buildup of the bacteria in the mouth can lead to further complications, such as heart and kidney issues. So, what signs of cat teeth problems do you need to look out for and how can you help to keep your feline friend’s teeth in tip top condition?

The first unusual thing you’ll probably notice is your cat’s bad breath – it can be hard to ignore! This is a sign of advanced dental disease. Other problematic cat teeth symptoms include: 

  • reddened gums 
  • yellowish-brown tartar on teeth 
  • drooling 

Have you noticed your cat dropping food from their mouth, chewing only on one side or losing weight because they’re unable to eat? 

If so, they could have a nasty case of gingivitis. Sometimes cats with severe dental disease don’t show any signs at all – typically cats don’t like to make a fuss if they feel under the weather so they may not give you any hints that anything hurts.

That’s why it’s so important for you to check your cat’s teeth and why dental checkups at the vet are vital, particularly for older cats. 

If you notice any problems, take your cat to the vet where they will probably recommend specialized dental care to remove any loose or damaged teeth and to de-scale using ultrasonic vibration, which gently removes plaque and tartar without damaging the surface of the teeth. 

How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Brushing a cat’s teeth is a great way to look after your pet’s pearly whites and avoid dental disease. Your vet may advise that you wait a while after any professional treatment before you try brushing their teeth yourself. Your cat-loving friends might laugh at the idea of brushing a cat’s teeth, but with time and patience, it is possible – although it may take a little getting used to. 

Ideally, you should try to introduce dental care at a young age. Although kitten’s milk teeth shouldn’t be brushed, kittens should get used to having their teeth touched from early on to prepare them for a life of clean teeth. 

For detailed instructions on how to brush a cat’s teeth, read our cat teeth brushing tutorial

Looking After Your Cat’s Teeth: Top Cat Dental Care Products 

Is cat teeth cleaning proving to be a nightmare? The simple truth is that some cats find it tough to get along with tooth brushing, however hard you try. Rather than continue to cause your cat stress, talk to your vet about other products you can use, such as oral hygiene gels. These contain enzymes that inhibit the bacteria that are responsible for plaque formation. You can give these gels to your cat directly or mix them with their food. 

Cat dental chews are also available, as well as special dry food diets that contain fiber that scrapes the surface of your cat’s teeth as they chew. Some cats enjoy playing with chew toys, and these can help reduce the buildup of plaque, but don’t rely on them – the best dental care is giving your cat a healthy balanced diet and regular tooth brushing. 

It’s a good idea to introduce home cat dental care to keep your cat’s mouth as happy and healthy as possible throughout their life. With patience and persistence, most cats will learn to tolerate some level of tooth cleaning, whether it’s brushing their teeth or hygiene gels. 

DentaLife Dental Cat Treats

Our DentaLife Dental Cat Treats can be given daily as part of your cat’s tooth care routine. With delicious flavors, like salmon and chicken, these treats have been scientifically designed for a thorough cleaning, thanks to the crunchy and porous texture.

As an added benefit, our dental cat treats can even prevent plaque and tartar build-up as they can clean even the hard-to-reach back teeth which are most prone to developing these problems. 

Start your cat on a daily oral care routine with DentaLife Cat Treats – the crunch that cleans!

For more expert tips on keeping your cat healthy, explore our other cat dental health articles

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