Taking care of your cat's teeth is essential. Find out why it's important, and what you can do to improve your cat's dental health.
Looking after your cat’s teeth
Unfortunately, dental disease is very common in cats and can cause serious damage. Around 80% of cats over two years old need some form of dental treatment
Prevention is key and taking a few small steps can help improve your cat’s dental health. These include brushing their teeth with pet-friendly toothpaste, a small, soft toothbrush, and providing the right diet.
Even the most conscientious of cat owners probably hasn’t thought about the condition of their cat’s teeth. In fact, a PDSA report indicated that just 35% of cat owners regularly check their cat’s teeth, compared to 81% who check for fleas.
Why do you need to keep your cat’s teeth clean?
The dangers of dental disease
While there are many problems associated with poor dental health, one of the most common in cats is periodontal disease. This begins with a build-up of plaque that when left to harden turns into tartar and causes painful gum inflammation and infection.
This makes eating painful so a loss of appetite could be an indicator of disease. Your cat may also be less willing to groom itself, may lose weight, dribble, paw its mouth or experience behavioural changes.
How to care for your cat’s teeth
Keep their diet healthy
When feeding your cat, it’s worth:
- avoiding feeding them sugary or starchy treats. These encourage bacterial growth in plaque, which releases acid that can cause teeth to decay
- feeding them dry food. Cats that eat this are less likely to suffer from dental disease in adulthood. That’s because the hard texture of the kibble helps to remove plaque and prevents food and bacteria gathering around the gum line.
- Being mindful that whilst dental sticks and chews can help, they are high in calories and can be associated with weight gain – we recommend using them sparingly to support your cat’s dental hygiene.
Brush their teeth
Although not always easy, brushing your cat’s teeth is the most effective method for ensuring they remain clean and plaque-free. There are a variety of pet toothpastes and brushes available; talk to your vet about what would work best for your cat. It may sound obvious but remember never to use human toothpaste as it’s toxic to animals. Watch our short video on how to brush your cat's teeth.
The best time to attempt brushing your cat’s teeth is after they’ve had sufficient exercise and are calm and relaxed. If your cat becomes agitated and shows signs of stress, don’t continue; start slowly and increase the brushing time every day. Brushing is best done daily.
If you have a new kitten, it’s a really good idea to get them used to having their teeth brushed from an early age. Introducing tooth-brushing to an adult cat is much more difficult.
Take them for regular check-ups
No one is more qualified to clean your cat’s teeth than your vet. We offer complimentary dental checks, and many of our practices also offer specialised dental clinics. Regular check-ups that include your cat’s teeth are the best way to ensure that their teeth stay health and don’t contribute to health issues in later years.
Expert cat dental care advice
Watch our top tips on how to care for your cat's teeth.
If you have any questions about your cat’s dental health or would like to find out more, contact your local Medivet practice.
Dental disease affects up to 80% of cats by the age of two and can have serious consequences, so it’s never too early to start your pet’s dental routine.
*T&Cs: One complimentary dental check per pet. Not valid for pre-existing conditions. Any treatment, further tests, or examinations required will be chargeable at the standard rate. Medivet reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time without prior notice. For our full terms and conditions, click here.