Often forgotten as part of the regular care routine, the health of your cat’s teeth can have a dramatic impact on their overall health. Like us, good dental hygiene is key to preventing dental disease and other issues in your cat.
Untreated dental disease can lead to complications not only in the mouth but can lead to issues including weight loss, kidney issues and much more.
Follow this 7 point checklist to promote good dental health for your cat and ensure you don’t end up with any nasty surprises.
1. Clean your cat’s teeth and gums
Take care of those pearly whites with by regularly brushing your cat's teeth and cleaning their gums.
This might seem like a straightforward tip, but as any cat owner will tell you cats can be notoriously uncooperative and this can be doubly difficult when trying to clean their teeth.
Cleaning your cat’s teeth and gums might seem like an impossible task, but if you can start them in a dental routine as a kitten, getting them comfortable with being handled it will pay dividends throughout their life. Note: A kitten's milk teeth shouldn't be brushed. They lose these at around 3.5 - 4 months.
If you have an older fussy cat! We hear you.
If it’s out of the question get near your cat to clean their teeth and gums, we suggest, at a minimum, a yearly dental clean with your vet. This combined with some of the other tips in this list to keep your cat's dental health intacted.
2. Use pet clinically proven dental treats or chews
A much simplar option than rangling your cat to brush their teeth are cat dental treats and chews. Why not a replacement for a good cleaning, the daily use of cat dental treats aids in the prevention of tartar and plaque build up.
Designed with textures, grooves or porous textures that help to reach the back teeth that are often missed when brushing. Given the various flavours and types available you’re sure to find one that will have your cat pestering you each and every day.
If you’re unsure what dental treat or chew is right for your cat speak with your local vet or ask VetChat now.
3. Feed your cat a speciality dental food
Unlike regular dry cat foods, speciality cat dental foods are made a little larger to ensure it is chewed thoroughly. And much like dental treats, they are porous to clean the those hard to reach places. dental food will reduce plaque build-up and clean the gums. They should be used alongside regular brushing and dental treats to provide the best protection against tooth decay and mouth disease.
Much like dental treats, dental food isn’t a magic bullet to dental health, it should be used in combination with both regular cleaning and dental treats.
4. Check the colour of your cat’s teeth and gums
While we’ve been mostly talking about prevention just as important is awareness that there’s a problem and getting it treated in time.
Yellow colouring will indicate plaque and darker shading means tartar. This will most likely be on the back teeth given these are the hardest places to reach during cleaning however be sure to check all teeth for any signs.
While you’re in there, it’s worth checking for any cracked, chipped or broken teeth.
It’s important to check the colour of your cat’s gums. Pink equals healthy. Bright red or a milky pink often mean gum disease.
We suggest a visit to your local vet if you notice any other above.
5. Smell your cat’s breath
No, we haven’t gone off our rocker. How does it smell? If you can’t ignore the pungent aroma it’s a sign of advanced dental disease. The smell is created by odour-producing bacteria that builds-up in your cat’s mouth.
Cat bad breath is most commonly a sign of a serious gum infection, but can also be a sign of kidney, respiratory or liver disease.
6. Get a regular dental check-up
The most important part of this list is the regular check-up. There’s no substitute for the trained eye of a vet. They know what to look for and more importantly the treatment.
As part of your regular check-up a professional tooth cleaning at least once a year will help keep your cat’s teeth in tip top shape. It’ll also help to identify those nasty dental health issues early. This will stop them from becoming a more serious. Good advice for keeping your cat happy and healthy in general.
7. Choose the right tools
Using your a human toothbrush to brush your cat’s teeth might seem like it’s fine. Don’t. Cat toothbrushes are designed specifically to conform to their mouth to best reach all the food and gunk that can get left behind.
Never use human toothpaste on your cat. They can contain substances that could be harmful to your feline friend when swallowed in quantity. And why would you want to? Cat toothpaste comes in unique flavours, chicken, beef and fish that will entice your kitty to brush their teeth.
Finger brushes and dental wipes are also an option should brushing be too difficult.
If you liked this article be sure to follow along all this month, as it's Dental Health Month here at PetCulture. We'll be releasing new dental health themed articles throughout August.