Like humans, cats can develop oral health conditions that can impact not only their mouths but their overall health and well-being. Believe it or not, approximately 80% of cats over the age of three have dental problems. Many of these issues stem from a lack of routine oral care.
Tooth brushing is one way that pet parents can help their cat maintain a healthy mouth, reducing the need for costly treatments and tooth extractions. But brushing isn’t normal for felines and many are resistant to it. Fortunately, there are other ways that pet parents can care for their cat’s oral health.
Why Is Oral Care for Cats Important?
Just like humans, a cat can collect plaque on their teeth. Without brushing, that plaque can harden into tartar, a substance that’s much more difficult to remove.
As tartar continues to accumulate, it can irritate a cat’s gums, leading to the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis. As time goes on, the condition can worsen, leading to pain and infections that affect not only a cat’s mouth but their whole body. They may need expensive dental care, tooth extractions, and other treatments.
How Can You Provide a Cat With Adequate Dental Care?
One of the most effective ways to avoid these issues is with regular tooth brushing. While pet parents can learn how to brush a cat’s teeth, not all felines are willing to get on board. In such cases, you might consider some alternatives.
Routine Annual Cleanings
Annual visits with a primary vet help to ensure that a cat is in good overall health are important. During these visits, the vet will check a cat’s teeth and gums for signs of gingivitis or more advanced stages of periodontal disease. Even if a cat’s gums look good, pet parents can always ask if the vet can perform teeth cleaning on a cat.
Pet parents can purchase water additives that are specially formulated to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Many also contain ingredients that help to give felines fresher breath. Alternatively, pet parents can use a gel or oral spray that can provide the same benefits.
For cats that enjoy tasty snacks, pet parents can help protect their feline’s oral health with dental bites and other treats. These treats often work with a cat’s natural chewing to reduce plaque and tartar buildup while also freshening their breath.
Some toys can work double-duty by giving a cat something to play with while cleaning their teeth as they chew on them.
When selecting toys for dental health, choose ones that aren’t harder than your fingernails. Those that are too hard can do more harm to a cat’s mouth than good, causing chipped teeth and injuries inside the mouth.
What Else Can You Do to Protect Your Cat’s Oral Health?
Learning how to brush a cat’s teeth is crucial for protecting their oral health, but it takes time and patience to get a cat into the habit. Don’t worry, though. The above methods can help you protect your cat’s oral health and prevent the development of harmful dental diseases.
Need more advice? Become a Fuzzy Member and get access to 24/7 Live Vet Chat to receive personalized guidance from a veterinary support team whenever needed. You can learn in real-time how to care for your cat’s oral health to give them a healthy smile that will last their lifetime.