Unlike humans, cats don’t brush their teeth twice a day. Oh, sure, there are things that help keep their teeth clean but not like brushing. They rely on us to help keep their teeth sparkling white and bacteria free. If they suffer from tooth decay as a result of bacteria, that bacteria can get into their bloodstream and harm other organs like kidneys and liver. Here are some tips to help clean your cat’s teeth and keep her happy.
How to Get Started
The best time to start a regimen of cleaning your cat’s teeth would be when she’s a kitten. This helps her get used to your hands and a brush near and in her mouth. You can get fingertip brushes and toothpaste that is attractive for your cat. Do not use any human toothpaste because it can make her sick.
Run the fingertip brush just along the gum line on the outsides of the teeth. It’s difficult to get in behind her teeth but if you can that would be great too. Repeat this procedure daily or at least a couple times a week.
Why It’s Important
Cats suffer from gingivitis just like humans. In fact, it’s the most common oral problem for felines. This gum inflammation starts with a sticky bacterial film called plaque that mixes with saliva and food particles. If tartar collects along and under the gum line, toxins can be released and irritate the gums. Infection can spread throughout the gums and teeth and can even result in tooth loss. If left untreated, tartar build up can get very crusty on your cat’s teeth and the only way to get rid of it is for your vet to do a dental scaling.
If your kitty’s breath smells foul, if she’s licking and drooling excessively or even having difficulty chewing, you may have a dental issue on your hands. Any kind of redness or lesions on her gums or discolored teeth demands a vet visit right away.
Put your cat on your lap and make sure she’s comfortable. If this is the first time you’ve ever brushed her teeth, let her lick the toothpaste and, with your finger, make a circular motion on a tooth concentrating on the area just adjacent to her gums. Do just one or two teeth the very first time. Praise her and give her a treat for being so cooperative. As she grows more accustomed to your routine, you can do all of her teeth in one setting and even massage her gums at the same time. You may find that her back teeth are a challenge, but be persistent and gentle.
It’s very possible that your cat will not enjoy having her teeth cleaned. If your kitty is one of those, try specially formulated treats that have a slightly abrasive texture to remove plaque and control tartar. Your vet may recommend a dental formula food. There’s also an additive for dental care that you can put in her water.
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