Dental care for cats

Oral care is an important part of your cat’s overall health, and keeping your cat’s teeth clean is a great preventive measure. You should discuss an appropriate oral care regimen for your cat with your veterinarian. In the meantime, here are a few tips:

  • Cats are susceptible to plaque build-up on teeth which can lead to gum problems and ultimately loss of teeth. In cats, plaque accumulates mostly on the outer side of the upper teeth. If your cat’s gums are red and irritated, plaque is a factor. Once plaque hardens, it must be removed by a veterinarian, often with the cat under general anesthesia. You can prevent this costly and uncomfortable procedure by brushing your cat’s teeth at home.

  • Use a soft child-sized toothbrush. Cat toothpaste is available, but dry brushing works well too. Establish a weekly brushing schedule. Cats won’t be fond of this at first, but will gradually become used to the process.

  • Do a breath check. If your cat’s breath smells different, it could indicate a problem. Diet could be the culprit, so make sure your cat is getting a balanced diet to reduce the chance of bad breath.

  • Red puffy gums and odour during teething (around 6 months) is a temporary situation and not a cause for concern, but red puffy gums not associated with teething is a sign of gum infection or gingivitis which requires treatment. An abscessed tooth will produce odour, and possibly drooling. Get to the vet, as an untreated infection could spread to your cat’s sinuses.

Related pages:

Are you ready for a cat?

Avoiding the fat cat

Caring for your older cat

Grooming: more than vanity

Raising a social cat