By Richard Keysaa
Do I need to clean my cat’s teeth? Most of us have never thought about our cat’s dental health before. A cat’s dental health seemed self-sustainable and most cat owners haven’t paid much attention to their cat’s dental health. If you think about it, cleaning your cat’s teeth will be more difficult than dogs due to their smaller mouth and resilience to do so. You can probably imagine tons of scratching and clawing when you are brushing its teeth. Just like dogs, it is imperative to clean your cat’s teeth to prevent oral diseases. Giving a bath to a cat is hard enough, imagine brushing its teeth! However, today we will discuss some tips in order to maintain your cat’s oral health. If left untreated teeth problems can lead to severe diseases and discomfort for your cat.
Facts about your cat’s teeth
- Teeth should be brushed as many times as possible to maintain health
- Maintaining good oral health can add years to your cat’s lifespan
- Cats have a total of 30 adult teeth
- Oral diseases can be linked to more severe diseases relating to the heart and many other organs
- Your cat requires anesthesia when oral cleaning is done on it to prevent hassle and resistance
- Bad breath is a general indication of an oral disease
- Cats have teeth sharp enough to pierce through skin
- Unlike dogs, cats do not have teeth that are meant for grinding due to its hunter like nature
- Unlike dogs whom are generally expressive, cats do not usually show indications of dental discomfort
- Cats utilize their incisor tooth for grooming purposes
- Cats can have cavities as well, although the cavity starts under the gums not noticeable by sight until they lose a tooth
- According to studies, periodontal diseases affects 70% of cats over 3 years old
Just like us humans and dogs, cats can get plaque and tartar as well. Plaque and tartar are a form of bacteria that seeps in our gums. This causes inflammation and diseases due to the bacteria decaying under the tooth causing tooth ache and at worse tooth loss. Cats are generally carnivores, and the health of their teeth is extremely vital for them. It is hard to tell if your cat has dental problems due to the fact that your cat hides its pain or emotions regarding its dental health. Even if it doesn’t seem like dental health is required, its best to maintain it anyways and can be a blessing in disguise for you cat.
Indications of dental problems with your cat
As mentioned before, your cat will usually not show any emotion or signs of dental pain. So it is up to you to be sensitive and pick up these indications of potential periodontal diseases.
- Bad breath: Bad breath is generally linked with periodontal diseases and it is best to get it checked right away. Yes, sometimes you can have a false alarm for bad breath because your cat might’ve eaten something that smelt awful but it is best to be sure and check regularly. Also, take caution when trying to smell a cat’s breath and getting close to its face! A grumpy cat might scratch you while you are trying to smell its breath!
- Bleeding and gum discoloration: Your cat’s gums are generally bright pinkish in color, but if you detect a dark discoloration then it might be a sign that your cat has a periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign as bacteria buildup under the gums might have caused it.
- Excessive drooling: If you start to notice your cat drooling a lot, then it may be a sign of an oral disease.
- Pawing at its mouth: One of the only behavioral signs you can detect if your cat has oral pain or not is when it starts to paw at the direction of its mouth. Doing so is a clear indication of oral discomfort and you should pay close attention to how frequently your cat does this.
- Refusing to consume foods: Some foods that require biting and cutting may be downright rejected by your cat due to tooth ache.
- Dropping food from its mouth: Do you notice your cat dropping food while it is eating? This may be caused by dental problems due to the pain caused by chewing, thus resulting in dropping food from its mouth.
It is highly recommended to visit a vet if you notice any of these signs to prevent risk of other fatal diseases inflicted upon your cat. It is also recommended to visit the vet once a year for a yearly dental cleaning.
How can I keep my cat’s teeth healthy?
- Brushing your cat’s teeth: Cat teeth cleaning can be a hassle, especially if your cat does not cooperate with you. The best thing you can do is train your cat to get used to the tooth brushing regularly and reward it with treats. Brushing your cat’s teeth at least thrice a week is optimal for plaque and tartar cleanup. Using a small toothbrush is great to pick off any plaque, but if your cat is uneasy with it can use a cotton swab instead. Remember to clean your cat’s teeth quickly and not to take too long otherwise your cat will become uncomfortable. It is highly recommended to hold your cat in a cradle between your arms to make them feel at ease. Afterwards, you should tilt their head back for clear access to its mouth. Another important aspect of a cat’s oral hygiene is the quality of their toothpaste. You should never utilize human toothpaste due to the intense levels of fluoride in them. Generally you should utilize cat toothpaste that is safe to swallow, fluoride free, and flavored to get cooperation from your cat.
Recommended product: Orozyme Oral Hygiene Gel for Pets
How to keep cat’s teeth clean without brushing
It is understandable why you might have difficulties brushing your cat’s teeth. Your cat may be a resilient one, your cat may scratch or bite you, your cat refuses to sit still, and ultimately your cat will be afraid of you attempting to clean its teeth again. Cats are a cautious creature due to their instincts, so it is understandable why you might have difficulties brushing its teeth. Different cats have different personalities. Here are some tips that may help you maintain your cat’s oral hygiene without the hassle of brushing its teeth:
- Dental rinse: A dental rinse is a type of spray you can apply to your cat’s mouth to prevent bad breath, promote gum healing, control plaque buildup, cat teeth tartar buildup, and prevent gum diseases. Simply spray the solution on your cat’s teeth and gums and let it work wonders! Dental rinse is usually made up of deionized water and is safe for pets.
Recommended product: Pet Horizon Orific for Pets
- Dental chews: Dental chews are snacks that can be safely consumed by cats that promote chewing while reducing tartar. What cat wouldn’t want a delicious snack that helps clean their teeth too? It can save them a lot of pain in the future. Dental chews are made out of meat, but what allows it to reduce tartar buildup is its unique shape and crunchy texture that wipes your cat’s teeth. Besides reducing tartar buildup, dental chews can also provide your cat with vital minerals and vitamins.
- Healthy dry cat treats: One main determinant of plaque and tartar buildup is liquid or soft foods. Foods that are liquid or soft have a large chance to stick onto your cat’s teeth, which then decays and creates bacteria. By feeding your cat more dry foods, you can prevent bacteria build up in the long run.
Recommended product: Barkery Oven Naturally Skinny Pet Treats
Always remember to schedule a checkup with your vet if things get serious. If plaque buildup is bad, it can cause excessive drooling, suffering pain, and inability to eat. Imagine your cute adorable cat in that situation; you wouldn’t want that would you? By maintaining your cat’s dental health diligently, you can prevent diseases like that happening and making your cat happier in general.