Dental disease is common in cats.
In addition to the accumulation of plaque and calculus, the teeth may develop erosions of the outer enamel, which can be very painful.
Some cats will tolerate tooth brushing with animal specific toothpastes, but if not, we can recommend other preventative measures – including special foods.
Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Cleaning your kitten / cat's teeth is a daily commitment - it should be an enjoyable time with your cat but does need to approached slowly to enable your cat to become accustomed to the procedure. Give lots of praise as you go through the stages below.
Ensure you have the correct toothbrush and paste both of which should be designed for animal use. Human toothpastes aren't designed to be swallowed and are likely to upset your cat's stomach. Cat toothbrushes are smaller, softer and are a different shape.
If your cat has periodontal disease, a specific toothpaste will be recommended.
How to Begin:
>>Choose a time when you are not rushed and both you and your kitten / cat are relaxed and your kitten not overly playful. To get your cat used to having something in its mouth, begin by using an index finder and gently rub this along the gums of the top and bottom jaw on either side of the mouth. Keep this session short and praise your cat afterwards.
>>You can then use a little of the flavoured toothpaste. Let your cat lick the paste off your finger, which he will view as a treat. Again, praise your cat.
>>After a few days of this, you then introduce the toothbrush. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the brush pushing it down into the bristles. Allow your cat to lick the paste from the brush and in doing so get used to the texture of the bristles. Praise your cat.
>>When you begin to use the toothbrush and paste to actually clean the teeth, start by brushing one or both of the upper canines. These are the large ones towards the front on either side of the lower and upper jaw. It is the mechanical action of the brush on the teeth that is important: Always stand/sit to the side of your cat to reduce the risk of him moving forwards into the brush, which could cause damage to his mouth.
>>Similarly, the use of a gum massager, unless contraindicated, will provide benefit to the gums. Talk to your cat and praise him when you have finished.
>>When your cat accepts having several teeth brushed you can slowly increase the number you clean at each session.
Aim to brush your cat's teeth on a daily basis - once you get started, it will become part of your daily routine just as brushing your own teeth is.
Food has a direct impact on your cat's teeth. Studies have shown that feeding a dry diet will help prevent plaque accumulating on the teeth. Veterinary dentist- approved diets are available through our surgery. Avoid feeding sweet treats and human foods, as these will increase the build-up of plaque and tartar.