Purr-fect Pearly Whites for Cats
Healthy cat teeth don’t just happen; you need to help get them looking their best.
You brush your teeth for a lot of good reasons, but at the top of that list is keeping your teeth and gums healthy. We can all agree that oral infections and cavities are no fun at all. Well, the same things also apply to a cat’s mouth.
From brushes and toothpaste to treats and check-ups, we’ve put together a few must-knows about dental care for felines. By implementing these tips, you’ll help prevent tooth decay, painful extractions and gum disease that can lead to infections that spread throughout your cat’s body.
Feline Gum Disease
Plaque, which is a transparent fluid that contains bacteria, eats away at gum tissue. If it’s not removed in a timely matter, it leads to tartar (also known as calculus), a hard tooth covering. Plaque happens naturally after eating, but it needs to be removed through regular brushing sessions and cleanings at your vet’s office. Tartar causes a lot more problems by irritating gum tissue, which results in redness, swelling and gingivitis. When it gets to the tartar stage, your vet will need to clean it off your kitty’s teeth. But you can help by brushing your cat’s teeth regularly.
Gingivitis is also a serious dental problem. It can eventually turn into periodontitis, a serious condition that leads to infection, inflammation and loose teeth. One of the first signs of periodontal disease is horrible breath. This needs to be taken care of immediately, as chronic oral infections may cause bacteria to spread to other organs.
Your Cat’s Diet
There are two schools of thought when it comes to cat food and its effectiveness to keep gums and teeth clean. Some experts believe that kibble provides a sort of “brushing” action, while others completely disagree. If your cat eats wet food or a homemade diet, the soft food has no cleaning effect. In the wild, cats hunt live prey, where they can chew on fur, feathers, tough tissue and muscle and bones which all help to clean the teeth naturally.
No need to worry if your cat’s food isn’t cleaning her teeth; there are other ways to get those pearly whites shining.
Brushing Cat Teeth
If your cat lets you, daily brushing with enzymatic feline-specific toothpaste is a great way to keep cat teeth healthy. You’ll still need to take her in for regular visits for checkups and cleanings at your vet’s office, but every little bit helps. Fluoride-free enzymatic toothpaste is safe for your kitty and removes the need for excessive brushing (which most cats won’t tolerate).
If you don’t have a cat-specific soft-bristled brush, use a small piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. Start brushing as early as possible to get your cat used to this process.
Teeth Cleaning Treats for Cats
Did you know that there are cat treats specifically designed for cleaning teeth? Check the ingredient list to make sure your kitty is chewing on a treat that’s good for her, as well as one that will clean her teeth. Enzymatic treats that require chewing are a good option.
Taking care of your cat’s oral health today can save you a lot of money in vet bills in the future. Home care, combined with regular veterinary checkups, is the best way to ensure your cat’s teeth and gums will be healthy for a lifetime.