Cats and Dental Care

Orange Kitty

Orange Kitty

The Importance of Preventative Dental Care

A part of owning a cat means that you have responsibility to maintain your cats’ health. In particular, the dental care that you implement at home is a form of preventative care that, together with dental check-ups will ensure that your cat will live a long, healthy and pain free life. Ignoring your cats’ dental care can result in costly veterinarian bills and unfortunately may result in pain or a shorter life expectancy for your cat. Regular assessment and care should become a routine for you and Kitty.

Assessment Of Your Cats’ Dental Health

Generally your cats’ mouth and gums should be pink and smell slightly fishy. The teeth should be white and clean.

Smell your cats’ breath, if there are any strong abnormal odor then this may be indicative of underlying problems such as gingivitis, tooth decay or digestive abnormalities. Take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Check gums for signs of redness, swelling, bleeding, ulcers and a dark red line along the gums. Also check to see if the gums are receding away from teeth.
Look for signs of a tartar build up. This will present as brown stains on the teeth and where the tooth meets the gum line and at worst covering most of the affected tooth/teeth. Check for loose and broken teeth.
Observe for any signs of pain which may present, such as the cat retreating when you touch his or her mouth, clawing or rubbing their face, drooling, trouble eating or total loss of appetite.

Check the condition of your cats’ mouth in general including their tongue, and palate. If you find any of the following signs of redness, swelling, bleeding, drooling, ulcers, pus, signs of pain, loss of appetite or inability to eat please consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Regular Dental Care:

Assess your cats’ mouth on a regular basis and if you do notice anything unusual, take Kitty to the veterinarian and let them know.

Brushing Teeth:
Brush teeth and massage gums regularly using pet products only. If you are the owner of a kitten then get them used to this as soon as you bring them home using a cotton swab, gauze or your fingers. There is no need to brush their teeth yet, as they still have their milk teeth, however getting them used to someone rubbing their teeth and gums will help once their lose their milk teeth. Try rubbing some flavored toothpaste on their gums so they can taste it, then introduce a toothbrush designed for cats or a finger brush. If you have an older cat there is no harm in trying to form this new habit, however ensure that they have been checked by the vet first. If they become distressed with brushing, there are other methods. Brushing should ideally be done on a daily basis, otherwise several times per week will suffice.

Special biscuits:
Dental chews which may help in reducing tartar build-up may be of some help. Read instructions as some of these products are not for everyday use.

Diet / Bones:
Special diet formulas of cat food can be purchased which are supposed to assist with tartar control. A combination of canned, raw and dry foods is recommended. Raw animal bones have been recommended by some and not others, because of the tendency for bones to cause damage. Do not give your cat pork, chicken or fish bones as they are more likely to shatter and splinter.

Specialty Products:
Products specially formulated for tartar build-up are available from specialty pet stores online and offline, some are grit based and can be added to food and others are gels or liquids poured into Kittys’ drinking water or food. Plaque removal products are also available in liquid or gel formulas. Please read labels first and check for reviews on websites if available.

Dental check-up:
When you visit your veterinarian for the first time after getting your cat, ask them how often you should bring your cat in for a dental check-up. Put this in your diary or on the calendar and keep to these recommended visits.


Implementing a good preventative dental care regime is the best thing that you can do for your cat as well as a regular assessment. This should ensure that if issues arise they can be treated promptly and should not cause any long term health issues with your cat. Remember prevention is better than a cure and considerably cheaper too.

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