At some time in your cat's life, he or she will need professional teeth cleaning. How often depends on your cat's overall health and teeth condition. One way to make those veterinarian-assisted teeth cleaning easier and less traumatic for your cat is good dental hygiene. Namely, you should be brushing your cat's teeth every day. While this may seem impossible to do, there are ways to make it easier. Here are some tips for getting your cat used to this routine.
Reasons Why Your Cat Needs Dental Care
Cats, like humans, can get cavities and gum disease. Most modern house cats have a diet much different from their wild ancestors. Many cat foods are grain-based and high in carbohydrates that stick to their teeth and increase bad mouth bacteria. This eventually leads to poor oral health.
Things You Need to Brush Your Cat's Teeth
Basically, you need toothpaste and a toothbrush. However, both items should be designed specifically for cats. Never give your cat human toothpaste because it contains ingredients that could seriously harm your cat. Also, make sure you use a soft toothbrush, preferably also made for cats. Toothpaste on your finger is also acceptable in the beginning.
How to Get Started Brushing Your Cat's Teeth
The key to getting started is to get your cat used to you handling his or her mouth. Try gently lifting your cat's lips as you stroke your hand around your cat's head and chin. The next step is to put the special cat toothpaste on your fingers and stroking it across the front of the teeth. The final step is to actually use a toothbrush or finger toothbrush instead of your fingers. You may do better if you are situated behind your cat instead of directly in front while you do this.
Other Ways to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean
If your cat is resistant to brushing, try other dental hygiene methods. Cat dental gels and wipes are also available. These may be easier to apply and use rather than a toothbrush. There are also water additives to help keep plaque-causing enzymes down. Specially designed dental toys may also help keep teeth clean. None of these are as good as brushing, but they are better than nothing at all.
The main goal of brushing and caring for your cat's teeth at home is to reduce the frequency and length of in-office teeth cleaning and other dental procedures. When your cat's teeth are kept clean, then they are less likely to deal with dental pain and tooth loss. If you want to know more about caring for your cat's teeth, check with a cat dentist for more information.