Brushing Your Cat's Teeth

Black cat getting teeth brushed with wooden finger toothbrush

Cats, like humans, have teeth that need to be brushed, but most people don't think about brushing their cat's teeth the same way they brush their own. Chewing food and toys gives some oral care, but it is typically insufficient to help avoid tooth problems. Brushing your cat's teeth properly will help prevent these problems as well as unneeded suffering.

How Many Teeth Do Cats Have?

Kittens will develop 26 baby teeth, which will fall out once their 30 adult teeth emerge. These 30 teeth, which include four canines, twelve incisors, ten premolars, and four molars, are normally in place by six months of age. The canine and incisor teeth are the most visible teeth since they are in the front of the mouth, but the premolars and molars are the most essential teeth because they chew everything.

Supplies Needed to Brush Your Cat's Teeth

Preparing to brush your cat's teeth will make the task easier. Some cats will require more of your patience or help sitting still while others don't seem to mind getting their teeth brushed.

  • Finger Toothbrush: A small headed toothbrush, Q-tip, or another item can be used to brush the a cat's teeth. Cats have small mouths and tiny teeth so a full sized toothbrush is usually too large to do what you need to do.
  • Pet Toothpaste: Toothpaste made for people not only has ingredients that can be toxic to a cat but the flavors are also not usually enticing to a feline palate. Toothpaste designed for cats will not only be safe for a cat to swallow but may help make the process more enjoyable if your cat likes the way it tastes.
  • : Tasty treats such as cheese, tuna, canned cat food, shrimp or other smelly options are great rewards for a cat that isn't used to or doesn't enjoy having its teeth brushed.
  • Calming Help: Calming supplements, anxiety easing medications, sedatives, or relaxing pheromones can help ease the fear, stress, and anxiety that many cats have when it's time to have their teeth brushed. These additives to your tooth brushing regimen can eliminate the fight that many people experience when attempting to restrain their cat.
  • Towel: A blanket or towel can be used to wrap your cat up when it's time to brush its teeth. This wrapping technique helps a cat feel calm and secure and also keeps its paws from batting the toothbrush away.

Tips to Brush Your Cat's Teeth

After you've gathered all of the necessary items, you may begin brushing your cat's teeth. If your cat is a bit wiggly, a buddy may be helpful, but if your cat is battling and crying, you should stop trying to confine it. This is when calming vitamins or medicines will be required. Even if your cat isn't in distress, covering it in a towel can help avoid scratches and give an extra soothing technique. Scuffing a cat to restrict it is no longer suggested since it raises their stress level.

If your cat is ready, give it some rewards before gently holding its head steady and brushing its teeth with a toothbrush containing toothpaste. Offer your cat extra goodies after a few swipes of the toothbrush, and then continue brushing if required. If your cat starts to resist or cry, you should stop.

What if You Don't Brush Your Cat's Teeth?

If germs and food debris build up on a cat's teeth, it can cause inflammation and illness in the mouth, just like it can in other animals with teeth. This infection can then enter the bloodstream through the gums' blood supply, affecting the cat's internal organs. Diseased teeth and gums can have a harmful impact on the liver, kidneys, and even the heart.

Aside from the effects of dental disease on a cat's organs, the teeth themselves can become so sick and infected that they shatter, require extraction, or even fall off. If not treated promptly, dental disease can be uncomfortable, cause major health problems, foul breath, drooling, and permanently harm a cat. Brushing your cat's teeth can assist to avoid these issues from arising.