Improve the Condition of Your Cat’s Teeth

Without proper dental care and a good diet, most cats develop dental issues by age three. Some simple strategies can help your cat maintain healthy teeth.

Cats are predators, gifted with sharp teeth and claws designed to them hunt in the wild. However, most domestic cats are pets that are well taken care of and whose ‘wild’ consists of backyards and the urban jungle.

Felines that haven’t been domesticated catch and eat their prey with teeth that tear through skin, and scrape meat off bones. This diet results in strong, healthy teeth that are clean and clear of plaque and tartar buildup. Domestic cats, however, are mostly fed delicious canned meat and other soft foods which do nothing to help keep their teeth clean. Often, this can result in painful decay, tartar buildup, gingivitis, and abscesses.

It’s estimated that without dental care and attention, most cats will demonstrate some form of dental disease by age three. In fact, mouth and teeth issues in cats have become the primary health problem for these animals.

Healthy diet essential for good teeth

There is no need to despair, however, as there are a few simple strategies to help your cat maintain healthy teeth and gums.

A nutritious diet is a good way to help your cat maintain great tooth health. Dry foods provide mild abrasive stimuli that remove the plaque and help keep teeth strong. There are also specialised foods with helpful enzymes designed to help reduce tartar buildup; these can be recommended by your vet. Avoid giving your pet scraps of human food from the table, as the foods we eat contain high volumes of sugar, which speed up tartar formation in pets.

Giving your cat raw bones to gnaw on is also a good way to improve mouth health. Ask your vet what the best kind of bones are, or if there are chew treats that can stimulate your pet’s gums in the same way. Several pet food providers offer kibbles with fibrous materials designed to scrub off surface plaque and tarter, along with safe enzymes that prevent plaque from attaching to the teeth in the first place.

Another strategy to keep your pet’s teeth clean is to consider using specific mouth or teeth treatments. You can buy approved animal mouth rinses which contain anti-plaque antiseptics that are safe for your kitty.

How to brush cat’s teeth

If your cat is willing, or trainable, one of the best options is to brush your feline’s teeth. Carevets has a useful plan that outlines how to introduce your cat to having its teeth brushed.

  1. Dip a finger in tuna water and rub this gently over your pet’s gums and a tooth or two.
  2. When your cat seems comfortable with this, gradually introduce a gauze-covered finger and gently brush the teeth in a circular motion. This will begin to remove the plaque and tartar buildup.
  3. If your cat accepts a gauze finger-brush, begin to use an ultra-soft, or baby toothbrush. Using special animal toothpaste is a good idea, as most formulas are flavoured to be enticing for animals.

A combination of a good diet, regular vet check-ups and brushing will help make sure your cat doesn’t suffer from oral health problems, particularly in later years.