Cat Dental Health – Tooth or Consequences
Updated: May 30, 2019
Did you know....
- The number one health issue facing cats today is oral care
- Oral care concerns impact almost 70% of cats
- 80% of cats show signs of periodontal disease by the age of 3
Many of these cats will never receive any home dental care, and the condition of their teeth will worsen every year for the rest of their lives.
A cat parent can detect a problem with their pet’s chompers by checking their cat’s breath, looking for red or swollen gums, yellow deposits or pus on their teeth, and watching to see if their cat drools or paws at their face. If infected, the bacteria can ultimately invade the blood stream and lead to damaging consequences to your cat’s kidneys, heart, liver and other organs.
A proper and thorough home dental care routine will go a long way to preserving your cat’s teeth and maintaining his overall health. Following are a few notable feline dental facts:
Cats are meticulous self-groomers, cleaning every patch from whisker to tail, but their dental health requires a human hand.
Here’s what you can do for them at home between vet visits:
1. Brush Their Teeth
Brushing is best and we cat parents should regularly brush our fur babies’ teeth, but let’s be realistic. If they didn’t get started at a young age, a lot of cats simply won’t allow it. Don’t get carried away and come at your adult cat with toothbrush and toothpaste in a single day. Work up to it. Start by touching your cat around the mouth while you cuddle him. Gently pull up his lip to look at his teeth and touch a tooth. Go gently from there.
Try to work up to brushing once, twice or, ideally, three times a week. If a toothbrush scares your cat, you can get nearly the same result by wiping his teeth with a gauze pad or dental wipe from your local pet store.
Caution: Always be sure to use a toothpaste formulated for cats and never use a human toothpaste. These are some quality and reputable oral care kits: SENTRY Petrodex Dental Kit for Cats, Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Dental Kit or the Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit.
2. Choose a High Quality Dental Friendly Food
Your vet may also recommend a dental formula food. These have larger-than-average “nuggets” designed to reduce plaque and tartar through chewing. We suggest Royal Canin’s Feline Dental Dry food which is a complete and balanced cat food that provides precise nutrition for adult cats. This diet helps control plaque and tartar with kibbles designed to promote chewing. The texture and shape of the kibble produce a gentle abrasive effect on the teeth during chewing. This mechanical action provides a brushing effect to reduce the accumulation of dental plaque and calculus. Kitty will be proud to show off her pearly whites!
3. Consider a Dental Rinse
One of the most recent innovations in home dental care is an oral rinse that kills bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Ask your cat’s veterinarian if this might be helpful for your cat — especially if your feline friend turns feisty and refuses to cooperate for brushing. Instead of brushing you apply a simple squirt of dental rinse instead. Oral rinses that contain chlorhexadine gluconate are effective antiseptics that bind to gum tissues and tooth surfaces. They also kill bacteria, reduce plaque and slow the accumulation of tartar. Rinses may be used alone or as a supplement with brushing. Here are three reputable oral rinse products: Premium Pet Dental Spray, Nutri-Vet Breath Fresh Dental Rinse for Cats and Dentahex Oral Rinse Solution.
Use only dental rinses and toothpastes that are formulated for cats. Remember that your cat will be swallowing these products, so you want to ensure that they don’t contain foaming detergents and harsh abrasives that human variations include. Those displaying the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal have met standards that are proven to slow the accumulation of plaque and tartar.
4. Let them Play with Dental Balls
Another option is toying around — no kitty can resist playtime so take advantage of it with the toys that yield some medical magic in their mouths. Consider a dental health cat chew toy. These cat chew toys are typically filled with catnip and fibrous catnip stalks to satisfy your cat’s natural desire to crunch and chew.