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Keeping Your Cats Teeth Clean

Cat dental hygiene is often overlooked by cat owners. We are all used to doggie toothbrushes and dental exams at the Albuquerque Vet, mainly because dogs get bad breath. Cats can get bad breath too but we tend to notice it a lot less. Despite the focus being on a dog’s dental health, your cat’s teeth are just as important. It isn’t just about having clean looking teeth or good breath. Good dental health affects your cat’s overall health.

What Do Healthy Teeth Look Like?

If we don’t ever look at our cat’s teeth we have no way of knowing if something has changed. Here are things to look for in healthy teeth:

  • White teeth
  • No chipping
  • No sores
  • Pink and healthy-looking gums
  • No bleeding
  • No swelling
  • No bad breath or foul odor

It can be really hard to check your cat’s teeth if they are not use to it. If you have a kitten, it is a good idea to get them use to you putting your fingers in their mouth and looking at their teeth. If they get use to it when they are kittens, they won’t mind you doing it as an adult cat.

If you notice your cat’s teeth getting discolored, having chips or holes, their gums being grey or splotchy, or having really bad breath, these could be signs of a dental issue. More serious symptoms such as:

  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pawing at their face
  • Difficulty or disinterest in eating
  • Weight loss

These are all signs of dental disease and need to be looked at. Dental disease in cats can cause bigger health issues that can be quite serious.

Cleaning Your Cat’s Teeth

Ideally you will clean your cat’s teeth daily, but let’s face it we know that most of us are not going to do that. Try to do it at least twice a week. Honestly, any cleaning is better than no cleaning. If you don’t do it regularly but only do it when you think about it every six months, that is still better than nothing.

The easiest way to clean your cat’s teeth is to get a tooth brushing finger cot. You can buy these at most pet supply stores. They are little cotton glove just for your finger. If you don’t have a finger cot you can wrap your finger in gauze. You do not have to use toothpaste, but if you do make sure it is specially formulated for cats. Human toothpaste cannot be used on animals. It contains ingredients that can make them sick. Plus cat toothpaste tastes like fish, beef or chicken typically, which sounds gross to us but yummy to your kitty. If you do not have cat toothpaste, you can put tuna water on the gauze and that will help your cat be more amenable to you sticking your gauze-covered finger in their mouth.

Do not use a human toothbrush. They are too big for your cats mouth.

Do not use dental floss.

Do not use human toothpaste.

When you are ready to clean their teeth, sit behind them and hold them so they feel comforted. Tilt their head up and back towards you, and gently push your finger between their gums. You want to rub your gauze covered finger over the surface of their teeth to clean them. While you are doing that you can do a visual check of your cat’s mouth to get an idea of their overall dental health. Your Albuquerque vet will look at your cat’s teeth during your annual visit. If there is an issue they may recommend doing a full dental cleaning. A cleaning will clean off their teeth but also deal with most other tooth issues, including extraction.

The benefit of cleaning your cat’s teeth, beyond keeping them clean, is that it also promotes overall dental health. Cleaning their teeth stimulates blood flow which helps with tooth and gum help and reduces the risk of dental disease.

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2510 Main St. NE #1 Los Lunas, NM Phone: (505) 865-0662

Veterinarian Clinic Website: www.loslunasvetco.com


The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.